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View Full Version : Famous Pool Halls (featuring Lee Simons)



CrispyFish
07-11-2003, 07:11 AM
A couple months ago I had the pleasure of speaking with Lee Simons at Buffalo Billiards in Cotati, CA. Buffalo Billiards is where I learned to play pool many years ago, but at the time I had no idea of the role that Lee and his pool halls had played in pool history! (For those of you who don't know, read the acknowledgements in Byrne's Standard Book.)

So anyway, this post has two points:

1. Lee is a very pleasant person.
2. Do the pool halls where you play, or the people who work there, have historical significance?

-CF (always amazed by how much I don't know)

NH_Steve
07-11-2003, 08:33 AM
I got a chance to play in Buffalo NY at Hippodrome Billiards this spring, reputedly the oldest continually operating pool room in the country. I don't know about that, but it did have a couple of the original Brunswick tables, and perhaps even more impressive, it appeared to have all the orignial cue racks and all the original spectator chairs and end tables -- that matched the original pool tables. Only thing was, the old 6x12 snooker appeared to have nearly the original felt /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif Unfortunately their original photo of Greenleaf playing there was 'lifted' some time ago /ccboard/images/graemlins/frown.gif

Fred Agnir
07-11-2003, 08:45 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote CrispyFish:</font><hr>
2. Do the pool halls where you play, or the people who work there, have historical significance?

-CF (always amazed by how much I don't know) <hr /></blockquote>I live near Springfield, MA's Smith's Billiards, the longest continuously run pool hall in the world. It's a standard fare, old school pool hall. Down a side street, up the stairs, walk through the small door.

Fred

L.S. Dennis
07-11-2003, 08:52 AM
Regarding famous rooms here on the west coast, there are two that immediately come to mind.

One of course is the old Palace Billiards (no longer there) on market street in San Francisco, and the other is the old Cochran's/Que Club/Holleywood Billiards which is still there in San Francisco. For historical purposes this is probably one of the last examples of the 'old billiard emporiums' left in the country. Unfortunately not in the best locations to park your car in. Best to go there by taxi. Definetely worth seeing if you're vactioning in San Francisco and would like to see how the 'old rooms' used to be.

HOWARD
07-11-2003, 01:09 PM
Have not been there, ...Hollywood, for awhile. If they still have the old oil paintings up- the lions pride, the
seduction seen, those are from the Palace.

Still the bar in the middle instead of a lunch counter on the Market St. side is different. But many of the tables and the old mahogany pillars are the same.

Howard

ProPain
07-11-2003, 02:03 PM
The 'oldest continually run pool hall' claims have me really confused. In this thread, Smith's is described as the oldest in the world. Hippodrome is described as the oldest in the country. I work right by Baker's in Tampa, and it also makes the claim as oldest in the country. Anyone know which one really is? Just curious. Baker's link is below.

http://www.tampabilliards.com/services/localhalls/bakers/history.html

Fred Agnir
07-11-2003, 02:17 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote ProPain:</font><hr> The 'oldest continually run pool hall' claims have me really confused. In this thread, Smith's is described as the oldest in the world. Hippodrome is described as the oldest in the country. I work right by Baker's in Tampa, and it also makes the claim as oldest in the country. Anyone know which one really is? Just curious. Baker's link is below.

http://www.tampabilliards.com/services/localhalls/bakers/history.html <hr /></blockquote>This is funny. I've been reporting that Smith's is known to be the longest continuously run pool hall since '96, and this is the first time anyone has ever challenged the idea!! LOL.

FWIW, Smith's reportedly started its tenure in the 1910's.

Fred &lt;~~~ could be just a rumor monger

ProPain
07-11-2003, 02:41 PM
Fred, I think you are actually correct about this. I think Hippodrome is Buffalo's oldest continually run pool hall, and maybe even NY's oldest. I also find it hard to believe that 1942 would make Baker's the oldest 'continually run pool hall' in the country, probably just in Florida. I'm just speculating. I guess they can all make the claim since people rarely challenge it. I'm still curious, though.

rukiddingme
07-11-2003, 02:56 PM
I practice at the original Chris' Billiards in Chicago on Milwaukee avenue. It can be described as a REAL old time pool hall... Second floor walk up, 42 tables (1 snooker and 4 verhooven billiard tables) and a colorful cast of regulars. Yep, one could write a book... /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif
rukiddingme

NH_Steve
07-11-2003, 06:59 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote rukiddingme:</font><hr> I practice at the original Chris' Billiards in Chicago on Milwaukee avenue. It can be described as a REAL old time pool hall... Second floor walk up, 42 tables (1 snooker and 4 verhooven billiard tables) and a colorful cast of regulars. Yep, one could write a book... /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif
rukiddingme <hr /></blockquote>...and you failed to mention, ONE POCKET galore!! I only wish I didn't live a 1000 miles away. You've got some real characters, too, like Freddy Bentivegna -- now he is one smart One Pocket player! At Chris's, hell, even the young nineball guns can play a little One Pocket. I get out there for the national kitchen &amp; bath business show about every other year or so, and it is definitely my favorite room so far, for the players, the action, the one pocket, the one pocket, and did I mention the One Pocket /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

NH_Steve
07-11-2003, 07:05 PM
The original tables at the Hippodrome (only two left -- but all the accessory furniture still there!) are the Brunswick Kling (http://www.brunswick-billiards.com/history/antique_tables/kling4leg.html) model.

The Brunswick site lists the above linked picture to a 1916 catalogue.

BillPorter
07-11-2003, 07:08 PM
Never been to Chris's, but makes me envious.

HalSmith
07-12-2003, 04:39 AM
Anyone in the Fort Worth area one of the old ones with alot of old days action was Texas Billards. It was one of those upstair pool halls . Don't know if it's still there are not.
In Houston some of the old places that are long gone were LeCue in downtownand Parker's where Jersery Red used to hang out.---Smitty

snook
07-12-2003, 01:36 PM
im sure its not the oldest, but ive heard rumors of a continual in downtown indy that not many people know about, its in the slums i guess, you wouldnt think the building is even usable, you walk upstairs, theirs fifty top notch tables. a full salad bar and regular bar(whatever those are for) and enough action to keep anybody busy. hope i can make it there one day.