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Archive for the ‘Billiards’ Category

Pool Bar Review: B61

I joined the American Poolplayers Association last season for a weekly 8-ball tournament. Each Monday I join my teammates at either our home bar, Park Slope Billiards, or another bar in the Park Slope/BoCoCa/Red Hook areas. One bar that I have been to several times, both for league play and socially, is B61. Named after the bus line that runs down Columbia St., B61 is a great find.

To begin, it’s a pool player’s dream. Why? Free pool. Not just after ten on Tuesdays, not just during happy hour, ALL THE TIME. You never have to pay for pool. Despite this, they manage to keep the table relatively clean and tidy. The pool area, located in the back room, is spacious and comfortable. There won’t be any need for a short cue in this bar. The only disconcerting thing is that while you’re playing, you occasionally get dripped on, as the roof leaks. It’s probably not wise to go here on rainy nights if you’re planning on really concentrating on your game. I’ve been playing when there were at least ten buckets lined up around the table, most of the them half full.

The bar atmosphere is pretty friendly, with lots of beer on tap and strong drinks (I’m told they make a mean mojito), as well as a very eclectic jukebox selection. The bartenders are friendly and so is the clientele. It should be said however, the free and spacious pool does tend to attract some hustlers. On one of my more recent visits on a Friday night, I played a group of people in the back. It was casual and friendly until two other guys arrived, played a few games and then tried to get me to shoot with them for $200. I declined, and it wasn’t a big deal, but if this annoys you, you should probably steer clear of B61 on the more popular evenings. If you’re looking for a money game however, well, there you go.

And if drinking whets your appetite, there is a Mexican restaurant called Alma right above B61, as well as Jake’s Barbeque next door. No matter what neighborhood you live in, B61 warrants a trip to Red Hook for a nice atmosphere and some free pool.

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j-train.gifz-train.gifm-train.gif You pretty much know what you’re getting with the JZM Condom. It’s mostly in Brooklyn, but there’s a quick in and out through Manhattan.

4-train.gif5-train.gif The 4/5 Condom is smooth and efficient. It’ll get you there fast and it hardly ever breaks.

airtrain.gif  The AirTrain Condom is just like all the other condoms, but more expensive, modern and confusing. Give yourself at least two hours per use.

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Pool is passé.

I’m going to break it to you, there are no longer guys in fedoras tapping their wingtips to the jukebox, with a cigarette between their fingers. It’s been replaced by frat boys in polo shirts & baseball caps, or suits with loosened ties. All the romance is gone and has been replaced by a certain banality.

Bocce doesn’t need to get people to pay for it. They know they’ve created a group of individuals who will come to the only bars in Brooklyn (owned by the same person) to get their bocce fix. They’ve created a subculture who crave their hands around their large balls. They will come week after week, set up leagues, and practically live at these bars. Do we need it in more places? No. And I like it that way. Pool you can go almost anywhere. I can barely walk down the street without running into a pool table.

And I’m sorry, something is wrong if you think handling a small stick and delicately hitting small balls is somehow tough. All that green felt is simply bourgeois. Bocce requires you to get down in the dirty court, pick up balls with your bare hands, and throw it down a court. You really learn to channel a more primal energy. You call that cute? Obviously you also haven’t heard the smack talk that goes on.

You have to accept that bocce is the new hotness, while pool is the old hotness…which can’t be anything but lukewarm.

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I don’t think the word ethereal has ever been used in relation to a game where you lob large circular objects onto a court in an effort to knock other balls out of the way. However my point was not that Bocce is ugly. More that Bocce is, in a word, cute. Bocce is billiards’ cute indy-rock girlfriend who is a little more shy and less overtly sexy. Billiards, on the other hand, is slightly more out of one’s league (pun sooo intended). Billiards has a series of shiny, colorful balls and a beautiful green felt table with six evenly placed leather pockets. And you use a looonng, shiny, aerodynamic, wooden stick that you know you just want to wrap your hands around and….. Ahem. Chalk.

Anyway, again, bocce is definitely hot. Its balls just aren’t as polished.

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Bocce is, perhaps, the hottest game in the history of bar sports. It doesn’t have to hit you over the head with its overtly sexual equipment (cue, balls, holes, etc.) – it’s a demure game with dignity, class, and a regal aura. Sure it’s easy to look sexy while splayed out on a table, man-handling a huge stick. That’s some rookie shit. All of the sexiness in bocce emanates from a player alone on the court, the envy of the entire bar. That player in untouchable. And as we all know, the hottest person in the room is the one you can’t even get close to.

Where billiards is carnal, bocce is ethereal. Though your feet are on a court made of earth, your spirit hovers above near the pressed tin ceilings. Your body becomes a vessel for the, um, balls and thousands of years of Italian history course through your veins, like so many Brooklyn Lagers. If there is anything sexier than the spiritually superior and historically inclined, I don’t want to know what it is.

This sport is so fucking hot, even the pope plays.

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