If You Could Bring Back Pool Halls

Remember hanging out at pool halls?  Shooting pool, playing foosball, smoking cigarettes, playing songs from the jukebox, wishing you were old enough to play the nickel machines in the back room…


Ah, those good old days – catching bus during intermediate school age to the pool hall to hang out.  Getting “jacked” in the alleyway (at least the jerks left me bus money).  That was at Cue & Cushion adjacent to Ala Moana center.


Then later when we got our license and could drive at night, we’d hang out at Holiday Cue across the old Holiday Mart on Kaheka St.  In fact, one of the guys in our club met his wife there.  Our club and their club hooked up at “Holidays”, then they invited us to a social and the rest is history.  In fact, they’re still married today!  J and T – you know I’m talking about you!


So just for that – if I could bring back any Pool Hall – I’d choose to bring back Holiday Cue.


So many memories at that place.


I remember when they brought in a video game called Gun Fight.  This girl named “Sammie” used to play me on that game.  We’d be cracking up playing this monochrome video game and just having a blast!



Remember when pool halls used to have Foosball tournaments?  The Ahn sisters from Kalani were the foosball champs there.  Holiday’s was their house!


One thing that was cool at Holiday’s was that the jukebox was hooked up to the speaker system – so your song selections would be heard throughout the whole joint.  And when the jukebox wasn’t playing, Q-FM would automatically kick in on the sound system.


And the other cool thing about Holiday’s – open 24 hours – we could hang out there as long as we wanted to.  Even on holiday nights like Christmas when there wasn’t anything open – Holiday’s was.


So, I throw this question out to you: If you could bring back any pool hall from the olden days – what pool hall would you bring back?  And why?  And share any memories you have of that pool hall.  Playing 8-ball, 9-ball, foosball, pinball machines, nickel machines, or even the jukebox.



Time is almost up!  It’s this Friday (4/26) – Give 2 Live VI – “Miracles with Aloha”

I am so looking forward to this one!  Read their featured story in Midweek:


26 Responses to “If You Could Bring Back Pool Halls”

  1. Rodney says:

    @Gordon – Welcome to the blog and thank you for sharing your memories with us. I didn’t know that there are national tournaments for foosball. And you’re still playing? How cool is that!

    I don’t know if my wrists can handle anymore.

    • stan says:

      Cue and cushion ala moana, diamond cue, old police station Kalakaua, freeway cue, school street, riverside cue
      Waialae ave, holiday cue kaheka street, university cue,
      Guss8e L’Amour, Cebu pool hall hotel street, Kamehameha pool hall under the bowling alley,

  2. Gordon says:

    I used to play foosball at the Alley Cat in pucks alley. Then pool at University cue. I think they had four pool tables in the front for free or very cheap…. can hardly remember.

    Green velvet is now Y’s sports bar. I don’t remember Green velvet being there for very long though or maybe I didn’t go there too often :).

    Sharks is pretty recent compared to the other places :).

    I think there was a slot car racing place by old police station. Then it might have changed to Diamond Cue, but I think there was another pool hall in the same location in the late 80’s or 90’s.

    UH game room bottom floor of the Campus Center had pool, ping pong, foosball and games. Lot’s of people missing class since they were winning in foosball and had a row of quarters lined up.

    People are still playing foosball on Oahu. Frank Balecha is still playing and sometimes goes to the mainland for tournaments. Another ’70’s player that sometimes comes out to play is George Garcia.

    Here’s a link to some of the foosball results for the Hawaii foosers that went to Las Vegas in 1999 for a tournament. Most of the players were ranked rookies since this was the first time they played a tournament on the mainland.

    We still play foosball :p on Friday nights at 10:00 pm at the Manoa Innovation Center Lunch room if anyone is still interested. 🙂

  3. Rodney says:

    @sueyev – Welcome to the MLC (Midlife Crisis) blog. Yes, the old Hawaiian Brians on Keeaumoku. That’s where Ross is now, right? Was the one by the old police station Diamond Que?

  4. sueyev says:

    Green velvet on King St. close to Washington Int. School, Sharks underneath the old China House restaurant by Sears Ala Moana, Campus Cue, University Cue and Hawaiian Brian’s when it was on Keeamoku and the current location. What was the name of the pool hall next to the old police station called?

  5. LINDA KATO says:

    Loved all of your stories ❗ 😀

    I never hung out at pool halls but did visit one below Punahou School, unsure of the name. Was too smokey for me.

  6. Seattle Gail says:

    Gah…I almost flunked my first semester at UH because I hung out at University Cue with my non-UH boyfriend.

    My neighbor, Charles Iwakami owned Holiday Cue at some point.

  7. M says:

    Guud morning MLCers ❗ 🙂

  8. Kahaluukid says:

    Kaneohe pool hall which was the old theater before.
    Went there during high school to learn how to play,
    sucked at it. My friends wanted me to come and help pay for games I think. Foosball was more fun to me. Wrist use to hurt after playing too much.

  9. dihudfan says:

    @4G… totally kooooool!!! Tunnel Service, good memories… my first job wuz at Kalihi Bowl…

  10. 4G says:

    @dihudfan – Wow, Chun Lee Tong. There’s a blast from the past! 🙂

    My first (paying) job was pumping gas at Tunnel Service – the Chevron that used to be across Gulick from Chun Lee Tong.

  11. dihudfan says:

    @4G… wow laulau… you lived close to Chun Lee Tong store, my favorite place to read comics… what a small world!!!

  12. 4G says:

    @dihudfan – wow, your house was pretty close to mine. I used to live on Martin Street, the side below N. School Street . . . .

  13. M says:

    Guud morning MLCers!

  14. dihudfan says:

    @4G… my old stomping grounds… used to live 3 or 4 houses away from Tasty Chop Suey… I remembah the pool hall by Gulick and King… raunchy place… but when we wuz working Libby’s in the summertime… we used to go to Steve’s Pool Hall, on King next to Kalihi Stream, nevah have age but nobody used to bother use at that time of the early mornings… used to go to one pool hall underground, next to Kalihi Bank of Hawaii… nevah have nickle machines so I guess the vice squad nevah bother… used to go to Farrington Billards to play the machines… Campus Que wuz good too… Que and Cushion was ok wen nevah have too many people…

  15. 4G says:

    @Rod – oh man, this a small island! LOL. That one is like one degree of separation . . . .

    Based on all the references to foosball in pool halls, I guess it goes without saying that I sucked at foosball, too! 😉

  16. nalo says:

    Used to go Riverside,down the side road where Chico’s had their propane tank to fill their ovens on the trucks.Went to Chuck Stonker’s across Kahala mall.Went to Holidays, Daimond Cue;now Fun Factory,Kaimuki Cue;now Happy Day,Campus Cue,University,Cue and Cushion, and the one on Kalakaua Ave by the old police station behind Dairy Queen under the big banyan tree;now an old folks condo. mostly went to play foosball.Spent lots of lunch money in these places.

  17. Kage says:

    I do remember seeing the guys hanging out the windows with their beers and smokes. The windows were open, no screens, with a couple of 2X4 going across so they could lean out.

  18. Kage says:

    I did not hang out at pool halls.
    Wahiawa had a couple I believe. I remember one was later converted into the video game room that was used on Magnum PI as a stand in for a pawn shop on Kauai.

  19. Rodney says:

    @4G – Yup, that’s her. And her younger sister whose name begins with an “L”. I know “M” because she was in our sister club. Fast forward 20+ years later and our paths cross again as we both worked at the same place.
    I used to see her sister too at IBM user group meetings.

    “Sammie” used to hang around them too.

  20. ankleBYTERS says:

    I use to spend a lot of time at Diamond Que with my friends after working night shift. They had the fastest nickle machines on the island where the balls would zoom down the playing deck into the ball return hole…Sea Island was our favorite. We got to know Freddy pretty well and I remember reading about him winning like $100K in Vegas back in the ’80-’90s. I could never figure out why they would never be raided since HPD office was nearby.

    Cue & Cushion was another favorite place to go during weekend lunch hour, this time to shoot pool, since it was right across from Sears. We also got to know Dorothy (I think that was her name) very well also.

    University Que – It was on the 2nd or 3rd floor…I just remember those HUGE bouncer type workers there…

    The pool hall at the old Kaneohe Theater – remember playing there a few times but I mostly remember it for watching movies there on Saturdays for $0.25 and my mom and neighbor seeing Zatoichi movies every week and my dad and would wait across the street in the bank parking lot (American Security ??) for them.

    Hemingway Hall, 2nd floor – pool and foos ball matches occurred all day long there. High schools would stake out their section of the seating areas where they could hang out between classes. Aiea HS was next to…..

  21. 4G says:

    darn – Foosball! 😉

  22. 4G says:

    @Rod – man, this rock must be really small! I couldn’t believe that reference to the Ahns from Kalani . . . . I’m like, “Whaaaa? You’re from Kailua and you knew them?” LOL. That one is less than six-degrees! 😉 There is a foggy corner of my brain that kinda/sorta wants to say that I vaguely remember “sisters”, but I can’t say that with certainty. I was not aware of their Foosbal prowess. Still, I’m pretty sure that I know/knew of at least one of them. I don’t know if you knew their first names, but one of them started with “R”, but went by a nickname that started with “M”. If this is the right reference, I actually knew the mom, too! Yikes, the reference is a little too close to home! 😉

    I never spent a whole bunch of time in pool halls, but it’s not like I never went into one, either. Perhaps that had to do with the fact that I sucked at billiards? 😉 I remember Cue and Cushion and Holiday Cue. There were a bunch of them around town, if I recall correctly. Back in those days and growing up in Kalihi, pool halls (especially the rinky-dink kind filled with older Filipino men) were pretty common.

    Hemajang mentions Campus Cue – was that the one on the top floor of University Square? I remember that one, too.

    I remember being in the fourth grade and having to walk home (alone!) every Wednesday from Puuhale Elementary School up to around Tasty Chop Suey at Gulick and N. School Streets. That was a truck for a little kid (like 30-45 minutes?). One of the worst parts of that walk was making it past one of the “old time” dive pool halls near Gulick and King Street. Walk fast and no look around too much . . . . LOL. I have no desire for that pool hall to be resurrected! 😉

  23. sally says:

    Cue & Cushion… cuz it was by the bus stop to go home lol. My neighbor knew the guys in there so it was fun!

  24. M says:

    Guud morning MLCers!
    I didn’t hang out at the pool halls, I been to River Side pool hall a few times.

  25. hemajang says:

    hung out a little bit at pool halls in my teens and early twenties. It was mostly old run down places in Ewa and Waipahu. Had a pool hall in Ewa, by Varona Village I think that was a converted old house, had maybe 3-4 tables, hot nights had termites flying all over, had to pick em off the table. Remember watching “Peedick?”, thats what everyone called him, at a pool hall in Waipahu. He was well known and considered the best player. Not till later that I heard he did well on the mainland hustling, came back and opened Hawaiian Brians. I was such a bad student my first year at UH, hanging out playing pool at Hemingway Hall, Campus Cue and what’s that place above anna banana’s? Yeah, very unproductive period of my life in pool halls and a bad pool player to boot.

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