PARKERSBURG - Pool and billiard enthusiasts have a new option in Parkersburg where alcohol isn't served.
Chris Wilson of Parkersburg is owner of The League Room, a pool hall at 1739 St. Marys Ave. with a family-friendly atmosphere, which opened Feb. 1.
"The League Room is an option to the area for pool players and people who like to shoot billiards and mingle with their friends without having to go to the bar scene," Wilson said. "I like to consider this a new, updated old-time pool room."
Photo by Wayne Towner
Chris Wilson, of Parkersburg, has opened a pool hall called The League Room at 1739 St. Marys Ave. in Parkersburg. The League Room is a rarity in that it does not serve alcohol, Wilson said.
Wilson has been shooting billiards for more than 20 years and said opening a place like the League Room has been his goal for a long time and is needed in the Parkersburg area. He is unaware of other non-alcohol-serving pool rooms in the local area that are still active.
"When I was growing up, there were several youth community sites that had several pool rooms, and you could go to those, but they're no longer available," he said.
The decision not so serve alcohol was from a combination of pragmatism and choice. Wilson wanted to offer an alternative to the bar scene while also not having to worry about applicable fire code issues if alcohol was served.
"I do allow, on Sunday league nights, for them to bring it in," he said of league players. "It is legal for them to bring alcohol into an establishment, all the rules pertain to drinking at your own house. Obviously you have to be old enough and obviously you can't leave here and drive if you have been," Wilson said.
The League Room has five tables in the main pool room, including three Diamond-brand professional quality tables and two Valley brand bar tables. Within the next month, Wilson will be adding two more Diamond tables and moving the Valley tables to the building's banquet room as an overflow area.
"The total front room will have four seven-foot professional tables and one nine-foot professional table," he said, adding there will be four of the Valley tables and another nine-foot table in the banquet room.
In addition to the pool tables, the League Room has booth seating for 32 and concession-style refreshments from hot dogs and nachos to candy to beverages. The back room has seating for 30 and is currently planned as a small banquet area, although it will become a combined space as new tables are added.
"When all is said and done, there will be enough seating to house from 30 to 40 people and have four private pool tables," Wilson said of the back room.
The League Room is open from noon-midnight seven days a week. The main Diamond tables are rented by the hour, at $2.50 per person. The Valley tables are available by the game at $1 or rented for $5 for 90 minutes.
Wilson is holding weekly pool tournaments on Fridays, with plans to begin a monthly tournament at the end of the March. Two pool leagues meet each week, with a North American Pool Association league on Thursdays and a Billiards Congress of America league on Sundays.
Wilson has a series of cameras filming different tables, where people will be able to view live streaming video of league matches and tournaments at the League Room. There is no charge and the video can be viewed online at www.tvmike.tv. He also plans to be active on Facebook as The League Room.
As a new business, Wilson said he sees about five to 10 people each day and around 30 people on league nights. He hopes to see attendance grow as awareness of the League Room grows, with another attendance boost when summer arrives and more teens are out of school.
"It gives the youth something to do, other than mischief," he said.
Wilson also hopes to make the League Room available as a venue for fundraisers and benefits. He already hosted a cancer fundraiser in February called "Shoot for a Cure," which he hopes to make an annual event.
Wilson is operating the League Room in conjunction with his other business, Premier Productions, an entertainment business he has co-owned for six years. It provides DJ services, photo booths and other entertainment activities at 110-150 events per year, mainly wedding receptions and corporate events.
In the future, Wilson said he would like to look at incorporating the DJ business into the League Room's activities and offerings, such as offering teen dances and other activities.