Friday, May 24, 2024


Belagavs Famous Billiard Saloon


Belgaum (Now Belagavi), with all its small-world charm, was hardly a place which had too many attractions. Apart from the Cinema theaters, where we would go for all the English matinée shows, Belgaum, as the saying goes, was a one-horse joint. During our college days, most of our evenings were spent combing the High Street and Church Street and at times winding up for a Missal’ or Dosa at the Globe Cafe.
Around 1955, the adventurous George Phillips of Goje Building, bought the Billiards Saloon at the end of Church Street (opposite M K Swamy bakers) and most of us got hooked on to the game of Billiards like an instant love affair.

I remember it was the late Kevin Pinto, who introduced us to the game. The Saloon was quite close to his house and a peep inside must have enticed him to the game. This was sometime in the year 1958. There was only one Billiard Table in the Saloon and we had to put our names on a blackboard and get to play when our turn came, each session lasting for half an hour. If it was a doubles encounter or a group game like Pool or Skittles, then the session lasted for one hour. Skittles, essentially a gambling game, was particularly popular with the crowd as many players could play at a time and the game required a lot of skill and it provided a lot of fun when a player committed a foul or had his score wiped out through an error.



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