By Joni Williams
When you think of a pool hall, what comes to mind? A dark, crowded, smoke-filled hole in the wall with musty, felted tables? With a jukebox and the occasional knife fight serving as entertainment? If so, you’re going to be blown away when you stop by the spacious, tastefully designed Emerald Coast Billiards, located next to the Raceway gas station in Destin.
This is a new school pool hall and it’s millennial-style cool, with plenty of city-style exposed brick, polished wood and airy sky pouring through its many windows. A sleek, clean wooden platform stage offsets the bar and on Thursday evenings hosts open mic nights or live bands such as the recently booked Post Pluto and Soul Innerface.
And then there are the games—darts, foosball, air hockey and (of course) billiards, with custom built tables that range from fine furniture quality to ultra slick, completion quality. Whether you’re a shark who can run the table or a perpetual guppy whose best move after many years remains an s-shot, we guarantee you will be impressed.
The best part is you don’t have to just look—you can touch and play on these tables. There is a variety of table and wall games available and rates vary, with pool going for just 10 bucks an hour.
Imagine our surprise when we found out that tables are FREE during Happy Hour. We’re assuming you’re going to have to make a purchase to get this freebie, but even if you don’t, do it anyway. Even the brokest of us broke beer lovers can swing a three buck beer. That’s right, three bucks.
The AB domestics here are usually an affordable $4, and you get a daily dollar discount from 4 to 6 p.m. Keep in mind everything here is in a delicious chilly bottle—no taps on the premises. To keep it simple, all prices include sales tax.
And simplicity seems to be the name of the game. For example, there’s no food served here, and all beers, including the super affordable domestics, are served in chilly bottles. There’s nary a can nor a keg to be found.
True to form, the beer offerings are uncomplicated and easily recognizable. There’s been some thought put into the selection process, or maybe whoever did the picking is just a bona fide beer lover. Though you won’t find any rare or exclusives here, you are almost guaranteed to find something you like out of the list of tried-and-true faves, including various products from Bud, Miller, Coors, Yuengling, Stella, Landshark, Grayton Beer and Angry Orchard.
If you’re not into beer, they’ve got wine—all different kinds. And it’s only six bucks a glass. Wine coolers come even cheaper at only $3.75 each.
You’re probably thinking what we were—super nice place plus fun things to do plus way cheap prices does not equal Destin. Real estate is pricey here, and businesses have to charge more just to cover their overhead. So how does this place manage the rock bottom prices in a prime location?
Turns out the bar is just an offshoot of their main business which is making those gorgeous billiard (and other custom game) tables we were eyeballing as though they were a group of shirtless, tanned bodybuilders running in all their glory along the beach. Apparently, they had that effect on many of the production shop’s clientele, which prompted many of them to suggest the addition of a hangout space.
If you’re looking for an exquisitely beautiful billiard table to put in a custom home or just a three-dollar beer and some free pool, they’ve got you covered. Our advice? Stop in soon. Not too many people we’ve talked to know about this place. Once word gets out, this new school game room will be packed out old school style.
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