View Full Version : Time Magazine Article on Pool

Chris in NC
06-04-2003, 08:06 AM
This week's edition of Time magazine includes a very positive one page article on the new image of many poolrooms, particularly the attempts of many poolrooms to attract women and young players. As the owner of a non-smoking and non-alcoholic pool room that attracts very good players yet at the same time families, couples and kids feel welcome, I'm pleased to see our sport getting such positive exposure in the media. Just curious as to responses from any other ccb'ers who've read the article? - Chris in NC

Ralph S.
06-04-2003, 08:12 AM
Wasnt aware of it until now Chris, but now that I am....
Ralph S.>gone to buy magazine, will return later /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

06-04-2003, 08:13 AM
Here's a link to the online version:
Time Article (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101030609-455824,00.html)

06-04-2003, 08:17 AM
Thanks for the info Chris. I'm on my way to get the magazine.
Kudos to you for operating "my kind of room"...If I ever get up to Boone
I'll be'a gunnin fer ya.

06-04-2003, 08:32 AM
Randyg is planning a pool school at Chris's place this fall. I will be there and you might want to consider it yourself. It is a GREAT class! And Chris's place is one of the nicest rooms I've been in.

06-04-2003, 08:37 AM
It's great to hear you're running a "clean" room, Chris.

The nearest decent room (and it's neither smoke-free nor alcohol-free, but does allow kids with parental supervision) is 30 miles away. There is just no good family place around here to play pool, only dive bars and bowling alley tables.

So I've given much thought to opening a family room myself, with a little restaurant run by my wife (her dream in life) and a little pro shop where I could deal in and maybe repair cues. It would definitely be alcohol-free, but I'm struggling with the smoke-free idea. As much as I despise smoking and would love to have a smoke-free room, I wonder about it being a good business decision. A large number of pool players smoke, and I wouldn't want to alienate a large chunk of my customer base. On the one hand, lack of any good pool rooms here may negate that -- since I wouldn't have any competition besides the bars and bowling alleys anyway -- but just my luck someone would open up a "smoking room" and half my clientel would leave. Kinda makes me hope that the state would ban smoking in these places like some other states have, it would make my decision easier. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif If I were to go forward today, I'd probably try to build in a fairly well "sealed-off" smoking room in order to accomodate smokers and non-smokers.

Do you find your business affected much by being smoke free?

06-04-2003, 08:49 AM
I am a smoker who spend several full days at Chris's place last year. When we took breaks, you could step outside on the patio if you wanted to smoke. This was not a big issue, and I think if you start off that way, smokers will deal with it. If you give them good equipment and a good place to play, I suspect the players will be there. Sounds like it would be filling a large void in your area.

06-04-2003, 10:42 AM
I don't know, the advocating of turning the pool room into a juke box playing game room doesn't appeal to me. Articles like that have been written as long as I have been playing, i.e. "The game is attracting the family or more women to the game". In the real world with rents what they are and what it takes to make a room go. A non alcoholic room is treading on thin ice. Alcohol, beer and wine, is found in any restaurant, most sandwich shops and anywhere it is permitted by laws and zoning. It is a reality, adults are not interested in drinking soda or water when they are out. They don't have to be a drunk to prefer a cold beer. A pool hall is in the pool business but the augmentation of the beer, may be what makes the business survive. I would not be investing my money in a pool room that could not take advantage all the income producing possibilities available and that includes selling beer. A room is only as good as the guy who runs it. The problems don't arise from the selling of beer, as much as from an owner that has no idea what he is doing. Most pool rooms that don't sell beer are because the owner made the mistake of opening in a place that won't permit the sale of beer, due to zoning or the landlord won't permit it. I have been is hundreds of rooms that were sort of game rooms and almost without exception the owner say they made a mistake and wish they had considered it, (beer), before opening. They may not have wanted it when they opened, but they would have been smart if they had made sure the option was open if they changed their mind later down the road. Just my opinion. I should add, I don't drink. I have never had a drink in my life, nor do I smoke, or have ever done a drug. I once had to take a lie detector test and the guy giving me the test could not believe the results. Of course when he mentioned gambling the answer were a little different.

06-04-2003, 12:41 PM
Well Chris the article is available online and I found it interesting.I can't wait for the nonsmoking laws to kick in for NY state in July.I live in NJ, but very close to the state line, and there's 3 or 4 rooms in NY state where I would be able to play.The problems I see with most new rooms in my area is,very loud music and I find that annoying.Also the Times article mentioned hourly rates and I can tell you that in this area the rates are very high in comparison to other areas. $8-14 per HR for 1 player, depending on the time of day.Although I don't drink when playing pool, I find that clubs that serve alcohol are generally better,because they cater to a older group and even if the music is loud,it's generally music of my era.
take care bob

06-04-2003, 04:10 PM
Where in Chicago is Chris's located? And what kind of bleachers do they have in there? Jake

06-04-2003, 04:37 PM
Popcorn, I agree with you on the jukebox thing . The one thingbesides the smoke is a jukebox so loud the it rattles the balls on the tables. I love to shot in a room that you have to really try to hear the songs and then its old time blues playing in the background.----Smitty

06-04-2003, 06:33 PM
My point was, it has to be a viable business. It is nice for people to say what they would like to see in a pool room. But the truth is, in the real world, it is a business and has to make money to exist. I want to see the equipment maintained and reasonable rates, not an owner always complaining how he has no business and can't make any money. Even a small room today has a heck of a nut to meet. You can't do it just on pool time and selling a few cues, you need the whole deal to make it, and that should include a well run bar. Selling beer does not mean it is not a family place or some seedy place you would not bring your girl. Even the smoking can, to a degree be dealt with. Smoking areas and good smoke eaters really do a good job in making it comfortable for everyone. The problem with a poolroom is the limited hours you have to make money. There are only so many prime hours in a day that poolrooms make any money. You have to be able to squeeze out the most you can because that is it. There is no way to create more hours in a day.

06-04-2003, 07:58 PM
i sure would like to know which issue that is..It may help me..

Chalks Billiards
06-04-2003, 08:19 PM
I opened my pool hall 14 years ago and made the decision not to have alcohol. It was one of the smartest moves I ever made. We have never had to call the police once in 14 years; the community loves us, as do the parents. We have an immaculate room, from the tables to the sticks to the bathrooms; my place is the cleanest you will ever walk in to. We have a niche market, here in Rhode Island; if you want to play pool with no alcohol then we are the only choice. We have birthday parties, graduation parties, even bachelor parties.

We run all you can play specials 7 days and 7 nights a week, everyone loves it.

Business has been so good; I hired a manager 6 years ago and stopped working. We allow smoking and have thousands invested in smoke eaters and Ozinators. They do an incredible job. We have no video games, only a juke box. We sell only soft drinks and candy and chips.

If you have the right location and run the place correctly, you don't need alcohol to have a very successful pool hall

06-04-2003, 08:28 PM
how many tables do you have? No complaints or police is great..If the place is run good with alcohol you really dont have many problems..That extra alcohol and beer sales could be thousands extra a week..

Not having alcohol could certainly be a strong marketing approach but may deter alot of people..what do u think?

Chalks Billiards
06-04-2003, 08:50 PM
Brady, I have 19 tables. We also run with only one person on at a time, so my payroll is low. I also don't have the added insurance expense, which is significant in Rhode Island.

As far as marketing goes, we cater to a large market of underaged people, families, and seniors. We have schools that have leagues in our place. Birthday parties are also very big.

Could I make more money with booze? Maybe, but why take the chance? If it ain't broke......don't fix it.

06-04-2003, 10:26 PM
Just out of curiosity, could you put in a license if you wanted, or are you stuck with zoning or what ever. I have owned both and I would not own a room today without a beverage license. The license has no bearing on how you run the place. If you are a good operator you would have no problems. I used to have tables where three or four guys would play till closing, not getting drunk or anything, but they just stay all night. When I had no beer, they may play a few hours if that and go where they could have a beer. The difference would be a table with $18.00 tab and one that produced a $120.00 tab. I had one place that I bought without a license. The old owner had been turned down for one and wanted out. I managed to get a license in the place about a year after buying the place. The first year with the license I did around $110,000 more then without it. The difference was amazing. A poolroom is not a kids game room. It can be a nice family place, but it caters mostly adults. In most cities the beer does not legally keep out minors. It is the same license that a restaurant has where you bring your family to have dinner. This is not a criticism of your decision, but if asked, I would not suggest anyone have a room without a beverage license. Even if you yourself choose to not serve, the resale value of the place would be much higher. I just would not paint myself into a corner if I didn't have to.

06-05-2003, 03:44 AM
Oh, I still agree with you. They need to make money or else we'll all have to buy our own table. What we all would like as a shooter and what makes money are two different things. I was just saying what I would like in a room, and yes the owners that invest in proper ventilation and smoke eaters you don't even notice the smoke. ---Smitty

06-05-2003, 04:06 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote jjinfla:</font><hr> Where in Chicago is Chris's located? And what kind of bleachers do they have in there? Jake <hr /></blockquote>

It's up on Milwaukee Avenue. I've only been there once. I didn't know it had bleachers. Dennis from Tinley Park

John in NH
06-05-2003, 08:54 AM
Hi Chris,

Great article, I think the future of pool is with family participation, it's such a great game, why can't everyone enjoy it under ideal conditions.

I don't smoke or drink, do you allow gambling? just kidding,
sounds like my kind of place.

Congratulations, continued success.



Chalks Billiards
06-07-2003, 03:09 PM
popcorn, I could have a license if I wanted one. I have chosen not to go that route. Someday if I feel it is necessary, I would look into it. I would have to create a whole new clientele, kids wouldn't be allowed in my place, it would be a significant risk.

Harold Acosta
06-07-2003, 07:58 PM
June 9, 2003 Vol 161 No. 23

Cover Page: The Doctor is Out

06-07-2003, 09:02 PM
As far as I am concerned you can take all of the modern pool rooms and fill them up with water to the ceiling. Give me the smoked filled room without the loud music, bangers, teeniebopers, and prepies. The new rooms have turned the game into a joke.

06-07-2003, 11:04 PM
it's an old story.

06-08-2003, 08:15 PM
Families should stay on the beach or at the back yard bar-b-que, not in a pool room. I am tired of dodging preambulaters and brats drooling on pool balls with their diapers full of you know what.

Scott Lee
06-08-2003, 08:58 PM
The bleachers at Chris's Billiards are only brought out and set up for special events...like the recent 3-C tournament and exhibition by Rosas! They used them when Grady and Allison played each other there a few years ago. They have to take down several table to accomodate the bleachers, so it is a big deal to use them! I was there today, and the bleachers were nowhere in sight!

Scott Lee