I don’t really know anything about pool, bar what I’ve had to put up with in pubs whilst working in them. Rude blokes with their own cues, intimidating new players away from the table then staying until the absolute last minute before closing, making sure they got what they thought was their “entitled” playing time…can you tell I still remember and hate those people?
So when I was offered the chance for a pool game and some food at the recently opened Felsons Pool Hall I was hesitant, would it just be an uncomfortable hour spent with people laughing at me whilst I attempted to hit a ball, or would I actually be able to relax and enjoy myself?
The hall sits above Walkabout on Corn Street and sprawls across five rooms, with a full bar and kitchen. The space felt warm and inviting, with plenty of art on the walls, great lighting and lovely staff. After a bit of a wait at the bar to introduce ourselves we were given our balls and directed to the table that had been reserved for us. What I really appreciated about Felsons was the small information booklet that sat with each lot of pool balls. As two pool amateurs, it would have been easy to try and surreptitiously Google “how to pool” in a dark corner but this made us feel welcome and a little less like frauds.
A read of the rules, a pint of Brewdog Punk IPA each and a few wins under his belt led us to finally decide to have something to eat. We both agreed we didn’t want anything too greasy but this became a problem when we had a look at the menu. Everything was fried or covered in cheese and sauce, so decided to throw caution to the wind and just order a bunch of small plates to nibble between trick shots. We opted for the crispy battered chicken strips with a BBQ dip, parmi chicken skewers (crispy chicken skewers topped with cheese, bacon and BBQ sauce), beer-battered onion rings with thousand island dip and some sweetcorn fritters with bacon and maple syrup.
This is not food served with finesse, it’s fried finger food served in baskets, designed to keep you coming back for more and to soak up some of the beer you’re no doubt swilling. We both adored the fritters, cooked with a little chilli and coriander and presented on a bed of lettuce, bacon bits and then drizzled with maple syrup, these hit the bar food trifactor. Sweet, salty and fried. The parmi skewers were covered in cheese that congealed and lent itself wonderfully to being stretched and torn apart and lowered into our gaping maws, so as to avoid the dreaded greasy chin.
Whilst the menu isn’t “sit down with the family” food, it absolutely suits the atmosphere and the only thing we were really desperate for were wet wipes, those cues got greasy pretty quickly (I swear that’s why I lost 5-0…)
We couldn’t leave without having a cocktail, the menu was vast but split into sections for easy reading and rooting out what you wanted. My companion decided a sweet, salted caramel flip was the finisher he craved whilst I went more traditional with a zingy margarita. His flip was thick, sweet and creamy with plenty of salted caramel syrup. I hated it. He’s still thinking about it. My Margarita missed the traditional salted rim but there was plenty of punchy tequila to make up for it.
We both loved the few hours we spent playing pool and will absolutely be back to play some more (half price tables on Wednesdays!) now we have an idea of what we are doing. The hall has created a friendly, bright and fun place to play with your friends that isn’t at all intimidating with plenty of basket food to keep you going. The staff couldn’t have been more friendly either! It’s a 10 from me!
*Please note that whilst the pool and meal was offered free of charge this in no way impacted my review*