The Old and the New

My attention was drawn to an article in the Washington Post about the death of a pool hall. At first blush the closing of such an establishment might not appear like much, but it’s sad when we lose the “real” places to the glossy chains. For instance, these observations were made in the article:

Whatever that is, it’s not a pool hall. For that you had to go to Silver Spring, to Champion Billiards on Georgia Avenue. Squeezed between Auto City Used Cars and Meineke Discount Mufflers, it was a true throwback, the sort of place the Music Man himself warned about. Across the street was the required pawn shop with its guitars and gold and guns.


It’s true, the place reeked of cigarettes. Smoke wreathed upward and formed a stationary cloud overhead, and saturated my mustache so that next morning my wife would still recognize the smell of the pool hall.


There were two kinds of rules to the hall: written and unwritten. Gambling was prohibited, which meant bills had to be neatly folded and left in a corner pocket or slipped palm to palm.

This place sounds cool, it sounds real. I can hear the clacking of the pool balls and the thud of balls dropping in the pocket and rolling to their destination. It’s nice to know that wherever you go you can find places like this. Then some glossy chain moves in and the old place goes belly up.

Five minutes away, Galaxy Billiards Cafe had opened its doors. Thirty-five big TVs outnumbered the pool tables. Short of a pencil and paper, there’s no way even to keep score — no string of beads, no counters. At the far end of each pool table is a “service button.” Press it and a waitress comes running. I kid you not.

The old place sounds like Pockets on Washington in Lansing. Places like that have that flinty edge that you associate with pool and the concommitant hustling. As for a place like that getting edged out of business by a place that has 35 television sets, that’s sick, it’s unnatural, and it’s a travesty that is worse than getting hustled. It’s de-evolution. My flag flies at half mast.

Oh and congrats to Ghandi’s team for coming in first place on Monday night league. Fucker!

26 Responses to “The Old and the New”

  1. guy in the UNLV jacket says:

    Progress is a mother fucker! That Galaxy Billiards sounds like the suburban hell kind of pool halls they have here in Phoenix. They have 25 tables that can be rented buy the hour making possible for sukas to hold a table all night. Lots of room around the edges, menus that include items like extreme fajitas and hot poppers. Give me a smokey torn down hole in the wall with one or two tables, and a menu with burgers , fries and onion rings. I to mourn the passing of the old pool hall!!!

  2. Mexigogue says:

    Hey, remember Erica “Clean Baby” Price? When I first met her I gave her a fake last name. I said my name was Michael Bermudez. Then I accidently said my real last name after that and she flipped just on account of I lied to her about my name. . . or cuz I was married, I forget. Ha ha! She was in Leroy’s once when I was singing she shouts all sarcastic “Hey Michael Bermudez!! I’m like haha waddup clean baby?

  3. guy in the UNLV jacketg says:

    We were just talking about her this weekend in Vegas. There was some lady who had a baby in a stroller next to a slot machine and I was like what a f#$%ed up mother. Then my boy said not really I’ll bet that baby is really really clean! Then we recounted the night when we rolled over to her place so I could bang her and she looked in the car and saw Mexi and Daryl (Both of who had already banged her) and walked away withouit saying a word. That was a funny night…..

  4. Phelps says:

    Actually, the thing that got me in that article was that the place closed down because of the goddamned smoking ban. I look at that, and I think “the very reason Laura Miller got the smoking ban here is to close down places like that. Pool halls and titty bars.”

  5. Mexigogue says:

    I thought to take that angle too. If I own a bar and want to allow smoking I should be able to. If smoking in bars is outlawed and my place folds because I lose business because of the ban I should be able to rip Laura Miller’s lips off.

  6. guy in the UNLV jacket says:

    They need to make a state wide smoking ban like in California. I love going to a bar and coming home with my clothes not smelling like smoke!!!!

  7. Mexigogue says:

    I like the way they do with casinos in Vegas. Some are smoking, some are non-smoking. Then you have your choice.

  8. Phelps says:

    You say that Galaxy place is “suburban hell” but then you say that they should ban smoking in the whole state? Check your headgear, guy. Those two are mutually exclusive.

    Hell, I’ve started smoking cigars since Christmas just to piss off the squares. I’m leaning towards smoking maduros. I only smoke one or two a week, so I can afford to smoke expensive ($2-8) ones.

  9. Mexigogue says:

    I’ve got two huge cigars I got from one of my pool teammates. I’m waiting for something cool to happen so I can smoke one.

    The thing that sucks about the smoking ban is that the bar owners lose business because at some point many of their clients are like fuck this, I’m going to so-and-so’s house to play cards and drink where I can smoke. The owners have the most at stake so they should be the ones making the call as to whether or not smoking is allowed.

  10. S says:

    kinda reminded me of the old Hall of Fame…where we went, as High Schoolers, to score nickel bags out of the back of some dude’s camaro (usually Oregano mixed with some domestic crap grown in Okemos or Waverly somewhere)…

  11. guy in the UNLV jacket says:

    My head gear is on O.K. smoking just disgusts me. My point is that if all the bars in a particular state have a smoking ban then there will be no loss in customers going over to bars in the next town where they can smoke. Either way the smokers can still smoke they just gotta go outside and do it. Mexi there are no non smoking casinos in vegas…….

  12. Mexigogue says:

    Yes there are. I was just there in 1992. How much could have changed since then?

  13. guy in the UNLV jacket says:

    Not much

  14. Mexigogue says:

    I take it you did not buy your UNLV jacket?

  15. R says:

    I went to interview with Raytheon in Tucson last weekend. Man, how can you stand the fucking heat up in Pheonix, dude?

  16. Phelps says:

    The Mirage and Mandalay Bay both have non-smoking sections. I think MB is all non-smoking.

  17. Phelps says:

    And the Nugget has non-smoking tables, too.

  18. Phelps says:

    Uh… R… aren’t you in Bama? And you are complaining about Pheonix heat?

  19. guy in the UNLV jacket says:

    They were smoking next to me at the Golden Nuggett Friday night. R, The desert heat isn’t that humid crap you guys got down there in bama. It’s a nice dry heat out here in the desert until it gets to be 105 then it is just freakin hot! You’ll love it out here man. Arizona beats the hell out of Alabama. The 2 biggest differences are the cars, folks in Tucson don’t have the chrome rims and booming systems like they do in Huntsville and the houses all look the same out here…..I think it is usually about 10 degrees cooler down in Tucson during the summer and stuff sou you shouldn’t have to worry to much about the heat

  20. Phelps says:

    Right. The Nugget has smoking and non-smoking sections. I guess you were on the edge.

  21. guy in the UNLV jacket says:

    I gotta look for that the next time….

  22. R says:

    Oh, the humidity is teh suck, no doubt, but, a guy who works there said that he figured that once it hits 106, humidity or no, it’s, as UNLV said, fucking hot.

    It doesn’t usually get over 100 during the summers here. The humidity will add a heat index, but there’s no way it gets as high as the 120 degree range of Arizona.

    Do you not feel weird that there’s, like, no grass out there? That totally had me freaking out while I was there.

  23. guy in the UNLV jacket says:

    Tucson doesn’t really get much over 100 so you should be pretty safe down there. The lack of grass does kind of bother me but along with no grass comes no mosquitos, and that makes me happy. It is actually possible to enjoy summer nights without 3 cans of Off….

  24. Phelps says:

    We get over 115 on our heat index here in Dallas sometimes. Dead calm when the Gulf winds carry moisture in and then die.

  25. Mexigogue says:

    Suckers. Hot over here is 90 degrees. Texas and Arizone are places I’d like to visit in JANUARY.

  26. Phelps says:

    January is a bad time to visit here. Rains the whole time. Get here about November.