“Where can I go to enjoy a few beers and play pool without having to share a table with guys who own their own pool cues?”
If you’re the type of person who enjoys pool but thinks sinking beers should take priority over sinking balls, or if you’re a complete beginner who would love to learn the game but can’t shoot without hitting a bystander with the cue ball, finding a place to play the way you want can be difficult. Pool tables in bars are usually dominated by a group of dudes wielding their own custom-made pool cues and table laws. If you’re brave enough to challenge them they’ll have taken your game – and your self-respect – away from you before you can finish your first drink, and will probably deploy the ‘winner-stays-on’ rule to ensure that you never play again.
However, do not despair, for in the heart of Beşiktaş, on the left hand side of the Beşiktaş Kültür Merkezi is B1, a genuine down-at-heel pool hall where the clientele is relaxed, friendly and totally non-judgemental. They have five or six pool tables, all in good nick, a couple of full-sized snooker tables and a bizarre pocket-less table for an inexplicable game involving one white ball covered in red dots. Tables are rented by the hour for around 18 TL and there are no menacing pool hustlers around to hijack your good time. Hours of uninterrupted pool time, however, come at a price: the pool hall has only two CDs in their collection – one is turgid country and western, the other is classic rock – and these will be alternated mercilessly all day long. I would also definitely recommend you stay away from the food for health reasons. But, on the plus side, the beer menu is pretty eclectic, and Efes and Bomonti are on draught and both cost below 10TL. They’ve also just refurbished the toilets, a move that has been much welcomed by me and one that has greatly improved the whole experience.
Address: Köyiçi Caddesi Mıstık Pasajı D. 75, Beşiktaş, Istanbul