partial8.jpgLast night I visited the Cock & Lion on Wigmore Street behind Debenhams, a nice little pub with four ales on (including Black Sheep, quite unusual in London).

However, the main reason for my visit is that I wanted to play pool with some friends, but this was somewhat scuppered on finding that the upstairs room that used to have two half decent tables in it has been transformed into YET ANOTHER “dining” room…

This put me in an unusual position. I used to play at least a frame or two every week before I moved to London, so could tell you in fine detail of the pool tables of Cheltenham and, to a lesser extent, Oxford. But I had only one vague feeling of where else I might find a table in walking distance of where we were.

Fortunately, the hunch paid off. Nellie Dean’s on Dean Street has a perfectly adequate quid a game table in its upstairs room (along with a slightly temperamental juker and Deuchars IPA on tap) where we had several games of doubles with another group of people (it was winner stays on), but is this the last pool table in town?

Surely in a mythic age gone past almost every pub big enough had a pool table. In fact, in my travels around the country, a lot of pubs outside london still do, so why has town so convincing turned its back on the noble game? Can it just be the feeling that pool tables increase pub violence (pdf report by SIRC from 1990 which actually says that good pub management can avoid this problem)? or is it just, in the days of pub needing to take a grand a day to not be closed by their landlords, that a pool table takes up too much space, space that could be filled with [shudder] diners.

Or am I wrong? have I just been walking round with my eyes shut? Please list in the comments any other central pubs with pool tables!