It matters what the circumstances are that instilled the love of pool in your heart and mind. You may have just picked up a stick a couple of weeks ago, have a few years behind you, have played off and on for decades, or still fiercely battle your buddies at 80+.
When you want to find a place to play, there are many locations. Some of the places might not be a location where you can take children and others require membership to access their tables. Here are some places where you can stroke your stick.
To qualify as a pool hall, all that is needed is several tables and someone to manage the cash register. Add-ons include beverages and food. There are pool halls in almost every possible place in the world. There are places where competitions occur in an open field with outdoor tables that are folded down and stored when not in use. There are places with only three or four tables and others with 60 and more. There are halls that cater to the poor, to the rich, and to every strata of human society. Go into a new location where an unknown language is spoken. Go up to any three people and make the motions of a pool stroke. At least two of them will point you to a pool hall.
Pool halls charge money for use of their tables and equipment. The final bill will vary depending on the rules of that pool hall. Costs can based on combinations of time using the table, the number of players, time of the day, day of the week, even whether women are part of the group. To avoid surprises about the final bill, ask the counter person before getting the balls.
Home tables have always been popular throughout history. When the game was considered the sport of royalty, huge rooms were set aside to hold a couple of tables.
Throughout the history of billiard/pool tables, the well-to-do were always expected to have a "billiard" room in their home for entertainment purposes. This carries forward into modern times. You can't find any mansion that doesn't at least have one table in a separate room, whether it is used or not.
Many modern homes usually have room for a table in the 4x8 or 3-1/2x 7 size. Usually it is designated as a recreation room or TV room. Many times, an enclosed patio is added to the back yard and becomes a pool room. A lot of tables end up in the garage, usually after spring cleaning and a lot of stored junk is disposed of and the new space beckons to be used for a pool table.
Just about every bar in business in the entire world has a pool table. Usually it is the smallest common size of 3-1/2 feet by 7 feet. The entire unit is designed to be moved as a single piece of furniture as needed for parties and dances. Space is at a premium, so the larger tables cannot be placed in most of these locations, but a bar table will fit fine.
These are coin operated, meaning that money must be inserted to access the balls. The cue ball is different from the other balls so that it can be returned to the shooter after scratching. Once a ball is down, it is no longer playable because it is locked in the ball storage underneath.
The pockets are often enlarged so that even badly aimed balls have a good chance of being made. The condition of the table deteriorates quickly due to rough hands, careless strokes, cigarette burns, liquor/beer stains. It gets unlevel because the table is moved so often to make room for more or less drinking tables depending on the time of week, and is rarely carefully re=leveled.
Institutions & Associations
In any place where services are provided to groups of people based on certain conditions, there is usually a room set aside to play pool for members.
Places where pool tables are common include fraternal organizations (in the US: Elks, Moose, Oddfellows, etc.). The bar area is the first place to look for a table, but other tables may be available in a pool room. All private clubs will have at least one table. The richer their members, the more swank the tables and room.
Other places might be government-sponsored, such as senior centers and youth centers which will always have at least two tables. Some private associations will also have tables available, such as the YMCA and YWCA. Boarding schools will all have tables available for their young charges.
Condominiums and upscale apartments usually have a common area that contains many amenities such a party/meeting room, bathrooms/showers, exercise room, an adjoining swimming pool and a pool room with one or two tables. Regular players will want to select an apartment complex based on the quality of the pool table.
Outside of the US, many upper class hotels have pool rooms set aside for guests. If you plan to travel abroad, when making hotel reservations, ask if they have tables. If they don't, it may be worthwhile to send an email to several of the hotels asking about the proximity and quality of nearby pool halls.
You will never really lack for access to pool tables. There are so many tables in so many places all around the world. As you find yourself in these locations, you will observe huge variances of table, ball, and cue quality. On a good table, enjoy the truth of the rolling balls - they do so at your direct effort. On bad tables, enjoy the challenge. You can become very inventive with some shot solutions. This is one of those rare situations where a "level playing field" does not require a level table.
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