The Times West Virginian

Business

October 28, 2012

SOL Billiards: ‘Clean, friendly environment’

WHITE HALL — At SOL Billiards, people young to old can have fun playing pool in “a clean, friendly environment.”

This venue, owned by Chris McNally, opened for business on Oct. 1 at the Middletown Mall in White Hall. The new business is located between Mattress Warehouse and CarePoint Partners, in the space that formerly housed Animal Kingdom.

McNally said he has created an upscale type of place and “kind of made it the alternative to the local bar scene.”

SOL Billiards features a total of 12 furniture-style pool tables, which are the regulation size of 8 feet.

“I love the game,” he said. “Anybody can play it, which is wonderful.”

The first tournament is scheduled for every Friday starting Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. Players can sign up in advance or one hour before the tournament. McNally hopes to establish some in-house leagues in the future.

In addition, SOL Billiards has two steel tip dart boards, a 14-foot shuffleboard table, and some old arcade video games like “Ms. Pac-Man” and “Golden Tee.”

People can enjoy the Internet jukebox, free Wi-Fi, and the 10 high-definition televisions that surround the place. They can also sign the 70-foot long graffiti wall, which is already getting filled with signatures.

“Everybody just can’t wait to come in and sign it,” McNally said.

The pool hall has a bar that only sells beer products along with beverages like pop, Red Bull and water. Hot dogs, pepperoni rolls, chips, candy and popcorn are also available.

SOL Billiards will celebrate its grand opening on Nov. 9. The Short Brothers will be performing live for the occasion.

McNally lives in Bridgeport, where he was born and raised, and has a background in logistics. He moved away to live in Manassas, Va., and Lakeland, Fla., for a total of 10 years, and then returned home to Bridgeport in 1997.

He said his idea to start a pool hall originated about 20 years ago when he was in Manassas, Va. McNally met a guy who had a successful pool hall there and picked his brain for a couple hours about the operations.

“I always thought that this area needed something where anybody of any age could enjoy the game of pool,” he said.

The county and area were lacking a place where people of all ages could go to play pool and watch football games in a nice social atmosphere, McNally said. Finally, he decided to bring his business idea to life, and he felt that the Middletown Mall in White Hall was an ideal location.

“The town of White Hall seems to be very business friendly,” McNally said. “I think it's a growing area. There seems to be a lot of traffic here outside the mall.”

A complete renovation, which took two months, was required to turn the space at the Middletown Mall into SOL Billiards. He said the venue, which measures about 4,000 square feet, is decorated in a nice, calm color scheme and features many sports photos on the walls.

McNally’s wife, Pam, often helps him run the business on the weekends, and other family members also lend a hand.

McNally welcomes people of every age from Marion County and throughout North Central West Virginia to check out the place and play some pool.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of people that come through the door,” he said. “Everybody seems to really like the place.”

SOL Billiards opens at 3 p.m. on weekdays and at noon on weekends and closes late. For more information, call 304-363-7665.

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.

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