Pool for sharks

Eight ball, corner pocket. Berlin's newest pool hall, Bata Bar, joins the slim ranks of pubs hosting billiards. And it's reasonably priced to boot. It's getting chilly out there: time to pick an indoor sport?

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Photo by Rosalind O’Connor

Compared to the behemoth that is Kicker, billiards remain the neglected stepchild of Berlin pub sports. Few and far between are the spots which bother to even have a pool table, and the ones that do usually cram it into some forgotten corner, requiring a ‘special’ mini-cue to shoot from certain angles.

Not so with Bata Bar, Berlin’s newest, most chic pool hall. In stark contrast to the messy construction of its Hauptbahnhof surroundings, the bar’s shiny, new smooth wood finishes and dark, sleek interior are pure polished, upscale Mitte. No crummy, balding felt here. With 12 top-of-the-line Diamond pool tables available to hire for €8 per table per hour, this is the place to hone your skills and get some quality practice.

When you’re ready to get serious, regular in-house competitions are scheduled, and there’s even a chance to qualify for the World Tournament in New York. Non-players will find themselves quite bored, but there’s a suitably classy, albeit perfunctory bar with a huge range of reasonably priced drinks (large draft beer, €3.50) as well as free wi-fi and a separate smoking lounge.

Since opening last year it’s been quiet, but slowly determined to claim its stake as Berlin’s best billiards spot. Who knew a dingy pub game could turn out to be so stylish?

Originally published in issue#129 July/August 2014