Curtis Rickling lines up his shot on one of the new Diamond pool tables at Bay View Family Fun Center/Sheridan Lounge in Menominee. The tables are said to be the finest made and are used to professional competitions at the state and national level. <br><i>EagleHerald/Mike Desotell</i>
Curtis Rickling lines up his shot on one of the new Diamond pool tables at Bay View Family Fun Center/Sheridan Lounge in Menominee. The tables are said to be the finest made and are used to professional competitions at the state and national level.
EagleHerald/Mike Desotell
MENOMINEE - The thought of pool halls often conjures up images of dark, smoke-filled rooms with players the likes of Willie Mosconi and Minnesota Fats. There was a time when any town worth its salt had a special place for shooting a game of eight ball. If there wasn't a special venue, then odds were you could at least find a table or two at a local bar.

Pool tables, like cars, come in different makes and models, and like cars, you get what you pay for. The Bay View Family Fun Center/Sheridan Lounge, formerly the Holiday Lanes/Sheridan Lounge on 1st Street in Menominee has just received eight new Diamond smart tables and they are top of the line.

"They're the best tables in the world," said co-owner Derek Chaltry. "If you go to nationals or state championships, this is what you're going to be shooting on."

There's quality in the materials and craftsmanship in the design and construction. And don't think for a minute that because it's a high-end table that your game automatically improves.

"They keep you honest. It's not like shooting on a bar table but they will improve your game over time," said Chaltry. "You have to be absolutely dead on. It's not like a bar table where you can cheat the rail a little bit."

One area where the Diamond tables are similar to bar tables is that it costs 75 cents to play. A bargain, according to Curtis Rickling and Spencer Adams, who were squaring off Friday afternoon.

"It's the best table in the game. Once you shoot on these you don't really want to go back to anything else," said Adams.

Rickling, who is relatively new to the game, was getting some pointers from Adams and said he could see the difference in table style almost immediately.

"These tables make you a good shot and teach you to shoot the balls straight," he said. "It's not luck, it's skill when you're playing on these and I don't want to shoot on anything else."

With so many great tables under one roof, it only makes sense that league play would follow. Chaltry says he has room for 20 four- and five-person teams and that 12 teams have already signed up for play on Monday and Wednesday nights starting Sept. 23.

There's also been interest by a few seasoned players in coaching youngsters in the finer points of the game.

"Kids who grow up shooting on these tables, by the time they're 18, their competition won't have a chance," said Chaltry.

For more information on league play, call 906-863-2676.