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Community Working to Save SF’s Last Pool Hall, Family Billiards

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Billiard halls were hit extremely hard by the pandemic, wiped-out in many cases.  Not everyone could set their pool table up outdoors like at the Wooden Nickel this past year, (a great little dive where you can now shoot pool in a parklet outside.)

Pool tournaments and billiard culture in general are indeed under threat in San Francisco, and its community is organizing to help save our city’s last pool hall.

Wooden Nickel Parklet, SOMA

This article is about an SF billiards institution for over 55 years, Family Billiards in the Richmond.  Family Billiards opened its doors in 1966 and is the oldest, continuous running pool room in San Francisco.  It’s got 18 tables and room for real tournament play, but like many businesses in the pandemic, it could not stay open or pay it’s rent for over a year.

Family Billiards, SF

Family Billiard’s owner Delbert Wong has played a large role in keeping the billiard scene and community alive in San Francisco.  Here’s a video of him playing in one of Family Billiards many pool tournaments:

The Family Billiards community reached out to us to help spread the word about a Family Billiards Gofundme.  Sara Thomas wrote the following:

“The landlord will not work with the owner and is demanding all back rent upon opening which totals over $150 K. Family would like to open after 6/15 when restrictions ease however this amount of back rent due is overwhelming.

Even before the pandemic, pool halls were struggling due to a decline in the sport for various reasons. Billiard Palacade, the Broken Rack, and Edgies are all Bay Area pool halls fallen forever during the pandemic. Family Billiards is literally the very last actual pool hall remaining in San Francisco and one of the few remaining in the bay area. If Family closes this is not only impactful locally, but for the national billiards scene. We will no longer have a venue for pro and amateur tournaments and pool leagues. If a major city like San Francisco can no longer sustain a pool hall what is the likelihood in smaller cities?

The owner has tried to apply for grants and funds including the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. However applications have either not been successful or grants have run out of funding. As a pool hall using shared equipment, this was a business that fell between the cracks and part of the very last tier in CA’s re-opening framework. For this reason it’s been impossible for Family Billiards to make any money at all during the pandemic.

This place is larger than just the pool community. It’s part of the SF community.”

Family Pool GoFundme here.

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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

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1 Comment

  1. Todd Emmel
    June 11, 2021 at 2:39 pm

    I am Todd. I lived within steps of family billiards. I enjoy the people and staff. Please let me know how i can help. Thank u. Todd