Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bar Billiards at the King Charles I pub in London

Playing some Bar Billiards at the King Charles I pub.

Prior to attending the CELIA Time Gluten Free Craft Beer event at the Prince Regent Pub me, Emily and Brad Shepherd headed to the King Charles I pub for a game or three of Bar Billiards.

Photo of Bar Billiards at the King Charles I pub in London
Finding the spot for the red, ready for a break

We haven't managed to play a game there since our first visit back in February last year. Every time we've been back since, the pub has been so busy that playing a game would be too difficult. Arriving soon after it opened on Monday night we were in luck and able to have a game and a drink.

When the barman uncovered the table we were surprised to see the green baize replaced with red material, it certainly looked different. The 'House Rules' however, remained the same.

Photo of Bar Billiards at the King Charles I pub in London
Last year's green baized table
Photo of Bar Billiards at the King Charles I pub in London
The red baized table this year

The pub is well worth a visit and can be found on Northdown Road (just off the Caledonian Road and near to King's Cross). While there we had the pleasure of having a chat with the barman about the pub game of Aunt Sally - it's big in Oxfordshire - and a pub character who was really pleased to see some 'young uns' playing Bar Billiards. He gave us some tips and also some suggestions of other pubs he'd played the game at (stretching back over the last 40 or so years!). One of which, that made me chuckle, was the brilliantly named Dog and Sausage in St Helier, Jersey. We also discussed the many variations of Dart Boards that exist.

It was thanks to Brad that we got into playing Bar Billiards after he pointed me in the direction of the old TV show Indoor League, which featured amongst the 'pub sports' a Bar Billiards contest. We played our first game soon after on the 27th of January 2012!

In the first game at the King Charles I on Monday I beat Emily 750 to 510 after Emily managed to make the 200-point shot on the sudden-death shoot-out, although this meant I couldn't wipe-out.

Photo of Bar Billiards at the King Charles I pub in London
Emily playing against Richard while Brad is engaged in pub chat

In game two I won a close match-up against Brad after he wiped-out a score of 370 on a shot at the 200 hole with the red ball. The final score was 440 to nil.

Photo of Bar Billiards at the King Charles I pub in London
Richard on his way to victory against Brad

A short break followed before Brad managed to defeat me 750 to 390 in the final game before we headed off to the CELIA Lager gluten free/craft beer event down the road near Angel.

Photo of Bar Billiards at the King Charles I pub in London
Brad lining up a shot with the red onto a white for a crack at 100 points

None of us got near the 'Table Record' of 3,040 points, that included a break of 2,860, set by Julian Coles on the 13th of October 2009.

The King Charles I is a great little pub, with a cracking Bar Billiards table and a nice and friendly atmosphere. We're looking forward to our next visit.

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Richard Gottfried said...

On a recent visit to the King Charles I pub in London Brad Shepherd and I faced-off in three more Bar Billiards games.

In game one I won 830 to nil after Brad wiped-out a total of 550 by knocking over the black peg in the sudden-death shoot-out.

In game two Brad gained a measure of revenge with a win 230 to zero after I wiped-out a score of 600 on the black peg in the sudden-death shoot-out.

In our final game of the evening I picked up another victory with a 960 to 250 scoreline. This game was wrapped-up by Brad scoring two white balls in the 10-point holes, which meant the game didn't need to go to sudden-death.

Another great hour or so of a brilliant pub sport. Looking forward to our next games.

Richard Gottfried said...

Latest Bar Billiards results from the King Charles I pub in London:

Game 1 – I beat Brad Shepherd 740 points to 460 having hit the 200-points shot in the sudden-death shoot-out.

Game 2 – I defeated Brad and a local player called Henry having scored 200-points to take the win 570, to Brad’s 60 and Henry’s 490.

Games 3 – With Henry wiping out a score of 90 and me wiping out a score of 410 in sudden-death Brad picked up the victory with a score of 510.

Prior to arriving at the King Charles I we had tried to get a game in three other pubs to no avail.

The (previously visited) Cheshire Cheese near Temple had a meeting booked in the games room so everything was off limits.

The Bishop's Finger in Smithfield hasn't got a table. I spoke with the landlady and while she knew of the game said there hadn't been a table at the pub in her two years in charge.

The Clerkenwell House pub has closed down.

The British Bar Billiards Forum has a list of Tables in London as well as details of people's investigations. Well worth a look if you fancy a game in London.

Richard Gottfried said...

The latest round of Bar Billiards matches at the King Charles I pub in London’s Kings Cross area saw me and Brad joined by fellow semi-pro Minigolfer Gareth ‘The Owl’ Holmes.

Having enjoyed a big win in the Davy’s Tapster wine bar quiz earlier in the evening – a comprehensive victory with 74 points out of 75 and defeating the next closest team by three points – we’d enjoyed our prize of the bottle of Champers which left Emily in no condition to perform and happy enough to eat a Burrito and spectate. So the Bar Billiards games would be three-player ones.

In game one – a triple-threat match – Brad scored 90 points, while Gareth wiped-out (twice), firstly losing his score of 180 on the sudden-death black-peg shot and then wiping out his nought to stay on zero. I won the game with a total of 550 points.

In game two – a three-way-dance – Brad bested me and Gareth with a winning score of 600 points, to my 320 and Gareth’s zilch having wiped-out twice again! This time he lost a score of 230 points.

In the final game of the evening – a three-player Hurricane match – Brad again picked up the win, this time with a score of 380 points. Gareth finished the game picking up 350 points, including the 200 points he picked up for potting the final ball. I scored a terribly miserable nil having had the worst game of my Bar Billiards ‘career’.

Another great evening out.

Praying for a wipe-out

It worked :-)

A worrying turn of events in this Bar Billiards match-up!

Richard Gottfried said...

Back in 2013 I was playing Bar Billiards against Brad 'The Fist' Shepherd at the Charles II in London when a pub character told us about a table at the Dog & Sausage pub in St Helier, Jersey.

On our holiday earlier this week we popped into the pub hoping for a game. Only to find that the table had been removed.