I’m no pool hall junkie, but a brew and a game of stick makes a night all the better. In downtown Fargo however, chances are you’ll catch a buzz before you snatch an open table at any of the surrounding bars. Thankfully, late last month, Moorhead Billiards and Rail bar opened for business and the amount of folks already pouring in to shoot is something great.
Downtown hasn’t held a pool hall for a few years now. Marc Oelslager, the current owner of the Moorhead location, previously ran Billiards on Broadway for 21 years before the establishment closed its doors in 2011. Oelslager told me that he’s been looking at the building at 617 Center Ave. (formerly Coach’s sports club but I’m guessing that was before my time as an advent drinker) for roughly seven years now. Talking briefly with Marc, I quickly realized the sport of pool has played various roles throughout the majority of his life. “My dad had a pool table when I was a kid,” Marc exclaimed. In his college days, while attending St. Cloud State University he won the NCAA 8 ball tournament.
Moorhead Billiards is loaded with tables. Renting price for two players is $6per hour. During the weekday, six bucks can get you unlimited time on a table which is great for some unwavering practice. On weekends, the unlimited rate is $8. Besides pool, the walls of Billiards are layered with dart boards and leagues are also offered for participation.
Pool League nights take place on Tuesday and Thursday and weekly tournaments are currently scheduled Fridays and Sundays. By the end of the month or within the next coming months, Marc hopes to have beginner league running on Monday along with pool lessons for beginners, advanced players and whole groups. Additionally, Oelslager is in talks with Moorhead high school about pool programs for students. When Marc was operating Billiards on Broadway, he had a similar long running program with the Fargo high schools.
Of course, the new establishment has a full bar stocked with good brew and liquor. If you shoot like I shoot, chances are you need a drink or three before you’re comfortable enough to mortify yourself in front of even a friendly competitor. Lucky me, I found the beers are good price and happy hour rides out from 4:30 to 6:30. Currently, the kitchen options are limited but full kitchen operation is expected by the end of the month. This is especially great news considering you receive free pool time with your lunch order.