A billiard[s], pool or snooker hall (or parlo[u]r or room) (sometimes written poolhall, snookerhall, poolroom, etc.) is a place where people get together for playing cue sports such as pool, snooker or carom billiards. Such establishments often serve alcohol and may have gaming machines, darts, foosball and other games on the side.
In North America in the 1950s and 1960s especially, pool
halls in particular were perceived as a social ill by many, and laws were passed in many jurisdictions to set age limits at pool halls and restrict gambling and the sale of alcohol. The song "Trouble" in the 1957 hit musical The Music Man
lampooned this prejudice (even contrasting carom billiards
, requiring "judgement, brains, and maturity", versus pool, said to be a gateway to laziness, gambling, smoking and philandering). Public perception had changed considerably by the 1990s.
In popular culture
Pool halls necessarily feature prominently in the novel and film The Hustler
, and their sequel book and movie, The Color of Money
, as well as other pool films such as Poolhall Junkies
and Shooting Gallery
. The historic depth of American pool halls and their subculture was touched on in The Color of Money
in various ways, including dialogue extolling the virtues of particular landmark venues, the disappointment at discovering one such hall's closure, a comment that regulars at a well-known hall "never leave the street" it is on, and the return of a pool hall janitor in The Hustler
as a hall owner decades later in the sequel.