Corner Pocket Billiards

Temple Billiards in Pioneer Square is a nice place to play pool, but let’s make one thing clear: In order to be a great pool hall, one must climb or descend a flight of stairs to get to it. Preferably descend, as serious pool should be played in a basement with now windows, hidden from the world of amateur stickmen and gawking passersby. The Corner Pocket, which is located underneath Easy Street Records in the West Seattle Junction, meets this criteria perfectly. With a simple, green and white sign bearing a martini glass and pool cue, the Corner Pocket’s staircase goes deeper and deeper, to where you feel like you’re nearing the bowels of Hell. It smells a little, and there’s a trail of cigarettes that lead to the door. Upon cracking it, you expect to walk into an austere pool room, with cement floors and old metal lockers, whose liquor cabinet begins and ends with Schlitz and Wild Turkey, and whose patrons are ex-cons paroled to minimum wage jobs who need to hustle some off-the-books money to make rent. Instead what you walk into is a meticulously-maintained, almost arty pool hall, with oil paintings on the wall and a comprehensive selection of top-shelf elixirs. And instead of a dank back room for high-stakes poker and knuckle sandwiches for delinquent bettors, there’s a comfortable area for watching sports on a gigantic TV. MIKE SEELY

Starts: Sept. 16. Daily, 3 p.m.-2 a.m., 2009

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