WALLINGFORD — Players have more room to practice and have fun at Yale Billiard’s new space on North Plains Industrial Road.
“We’re trying to be a place that has a lot of fun,” said Bobby Hilton, owner of the pool hall. “Pretty much everything you need for a night out.”
After 25 years at 950 Yale Ave., Hilton decided to move to a new 7,000-square-foot space at 169 N. Plains Industrial Road, complete with 16 9-foot long Brunswick pool tables, a full bar, dart boards and a private party room.
The pool hall was closed for less than a month as Hilton’s friends and family helped move from his previous location before the holidays.
“We were there for so long and we had such a good following that we just needed to be a little bit bigger,” Hilton said of the decision. “Our leagues were expanding and we just wanted to have a new look.”
Hilton first opened the business in 1994 with his father-in-law and took over a few years later when he retired.
“I played pool with my dad back in the day when I was a kid and I just love the sport with a passion,” Hilton said.
Liz Glass, manager and Yale Billiards employee for the last 11 years, said there’s already been an increase in people looking to learn pool.
“There’s a lot of people showing interest in joining league teams,” she said.
Currently there are between 40 and 50 teams with nearly 400 members. Most members are local, Hilton said, though some people travel from others parts of the state to play.
A list of some of the best players hangs on the wall, among them a 16-year-old.
“Practice, practice, practice,” Hilton said of the skills needed to become a great pool player. “It’s a mental game, it’s a hard game and it’s never the same game twice.”
Hilton said the new venue offers more opportunities for lessons.
“Everybody’s helpful around here,” Hilton said. “If you have fun with it, you’re a good pool player.”
A grand opening will be held Saturday at noon.