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Title: GBTL x the 'Wrong Hole' - Community vote winner
The bigger they are...
Well readers, I guess the 'people' have spoken. All 22 of you... Thanks to those who contributed to the poll where the majority of you vote for the 'Wrong Hole' as the next in the series of reviews of the lesser known places in Hathian, now one of my 'loyal' readers Ryder, the celebrity musician pointed out that my last review of Sinners was of a place that was only recently opened, but this dear Ryder, does not preclude a place from being reviewed as it is often the case that despite a flurry of activity on the part of the business owner, that the venue is not subsequently promoted to the residents of Hathian and thus runs the risk of an ignoble end. I would like to add that this is not me, or the Observer saying that we are offering free publicity, but in the interests of fostering the civic life of the City, over the less civic elements, I do not consider it a chore to review these types of places, especially as I seem to get a free drink everywhere I go... now if only people recognised me as a food critic right readers?
So, 'The Wrong Hole'... Let's just get started and take a moment to review two things. Firstly, the size of the building. If it was the case that size was the most important thing, then this venue would win. It's like an aircraft hanger, with high ceilings, industrial windows that let in shafts of light and neon signs around the outside advertising the club inside. However, we do know that size isn't everything. A building such as this needs to be tastefully utilised, accenting the industrial to better serve the purpose while also being welcoming to the community. I know that I wondered whether the title of the club really was the meaning that the owner intended? Afterall, pool is about winning and sinking the black or the wrong colours, is a sure fire way of losing I wondered about the choice of name... clearly as a budding copywriter, I had my own go... apologies:
Grig, hire me ok next time?
So, this is a public business right, but if you trespass you get shot and shot again? Anyway, like any good poolhall, the entrance was rather non-descript, through a rusted door and past a few choice signs. 'Cold Beer' was perhaps my favourite considering the weather, although I did notice the staff 'for hire' sign and wish the owner luck with this. To be fair to him, when I was at the club playing prior to writing this review, I did see him discuss a new role with a woman who had come looking for work. I would've interviewed her then, but perhaps if she has any thoughts after a few more weeks she can reach out and we'll update this article?
So anyway, up the stairs and into the hall and from there you really can appreciate the space. I took this shot from in the VIP area and you can only see half the floorspace.
The main elements of the Pool Hall are as you would expect tables, there are three main tables (two downstairs and one in the VIP section) and all offer various forms of pool for individuals, duos or teams depending. When I first visited these worked as expected, but on my most recent visit I could not get the balls to dispense and was unable to pose with cue and balls and make some inappropriate comment. Oh well...
In addition to the tables there are two bars, multiple tables and chairs for general conversations and an intriguing 'clothing optional' door which I sadly wasn't able to get a peek into. Boo, what are you hiding back there Grig? Anyone with the 'behind the manager's door' please let me know because so far, all the really cool stuff gets hidden. Surely Grig, you're not just suggesting your office is clothing optional? Anyway, prohibited from more photos over there I wondered if there were another few points to the final score just hidden away... Not my loss though!
Getting a Drink & VIP arrangements
There are two bars at the hall, the smaller is upstairs serving the VIPs and is stocked with higher end spirits and generally bottled beer. Downstairs the bar is larger and comfortably seats a good group of customers, while there is space for two or so bar staff to work if required. Considering the size of the place, I'd expect there to be a waitress on duty as well to cater for the tables around the venue. When I visited for my photos it was however fairly quiet so instead I sat directly at the bar and had nice little cocktail for my trouble. I'd suggest that the ground floor bar is best for beers (on tap and bottle) and then spirits, neat. This isn't quite the same ambience as some of the other venues in Hathian I have so far reviewed. For example, TT focuses on things like champagne service and bar cocktails, while Sinners is generally high-end everything. Here at at 'The Wrong Hole' it's good quality, simple drinks with reasonable brands of liquor and a sensible price considering you're probably mostly here for pool.
The VIP area, upstairs is a little bit of a conundrum. The nice private bar and a private pool table is not well served with a large 'UFO' style lounger. While comfortable, it didn't feel I was in a pool hall anymore, nor was I obviously in any kind of club or other experience. I would encourage Grig to consider maybe determining if we wants a little more VIP exclusivity or whether this is really a private area for social groups to get away from the bustle downstairs. The former would lend itself well to some curtains or divided areas, a little bit of soft furnishing and so forth along with perhaps some other entainments, exclusive to the VIPs... Car Table, Arcade Machines, Pinball, that kind of thing. The latter would lend itself to the UFO being removed and replaced with perhaps more bench style seating in theme with the industrial vibe.
So reader, the VIP area for now gets the GBTL air-quotes.. it's just not here yet vs. the rest of the competition. In order to get this right, Grig is going to have to bring it with a little more investment and a little more theme. But it's not that bad, we're here for pool aren't we and this is a place that does that well!
The VIP seating:
Wrapping this up
I enjoyed my time at the Wrong Hole' for pool and for the good value and quality drinks that just about were affordable for my budget. I liked the pool machines when working as they were good quality, with a well maintained felt and the cues all seemed like they hadn't been anywhere they shouldn't have been. The VIP area is a bit of a mixed-bag. I actually really like the view over the main hall, but there isn't a consistent theme, this is something the owner needs to work on to reach higher.
It's fun to play pool with friends and I can see that this will be a good place for social events, including community hire. The space is large and could be reconfigured for dancing, boxing, fencing or any other number of sports. I'd estimate capacity is at least 100 if the floors were cleared and this could make for an attractive venue that so far has been filled by the MC's compound or out in the sticks with the Community BBQ.
So, what about the score? Well.. I think each place I review should be ranked in general the same and then compare and contrasted against any other similar venues. 'The Wrong Hole' hasn't had any exactly similar places come up yet for review, so on that front I'll score it as I took it... An interesting, imposing building, that has lots of potential, but hasn't yet exploited it. Keep working on it Grig, we'll be back for a follow-up in the future!GBTL scores it a 7!
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