A different type of pool hall

Beezle's offers fun in a family atmosphere

(Published Dec. 11, 2006, 10:38 a.m.)

Forget all your preconceptions of pool halls being sleazy, dirty, smoky dives frequented by low-lifes. For Beezle's, 545 Kenosha St., Walworth, (262) 394-5037, is none of the above. In fact, this spacious, clean recreation hall is just the opposite.

John and Maryann Warfield opened their establishment in the old Ben Franklin store in West Lake Centre last September after more than three months of renovations. It was a family effort. John's father, John Wakefield, built the bar and the surround walls, while Maryann's dad, Bob Pasche, painted the spacious walls.

"Fifty-one gallons of paint," Pasche said in a news release. "I'll never forget that,"

The Warfields said their goal was to create a place where a teenager could say, "Mom, I'm going to go hang out at Beezle's this afternoon," and Mom wouldn't worry.

"We have three kids ourselves, so we wanted it to be a safe place for kids," Maryann said in the release.

Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult, she said.

Beezle's offers pool, darts, foosball and pinball machines. There are nine professional Olhausen pool tables scattered throughout the spacious hall, two smaller coin-operated bar-size tables, steel-tipped darts - not electronic, two foozball tables and several pinball and video machines.

"We offer something for all ages, all interests," Maryann said. "You don't have to play pool to come in here."

Still, pool is the big focus.

"It's a gathering place for families and couples - very awesome," said Maryann. "We love seeing very serious pool players come in here."

Beezle's is currently offering several different tournaments for pool players from beginners to experienced players. Tournaments are open to the public for a $10 fee and offer a 100 percent payout. Beginning in December, a nine-ball tournament will be held every other Saturday. On alternate Saturdays, a "hotshot" tournament will be held for more experienced players.

Who's a hotshot?

"If you consider yourself a hotshot, you can enter," Maryann explained.

On Wednesday night, Dec. 6, a high school tournament will be conducted. Entrance fees are $10 and prizes will be awarded to winners.

But a lot of their customers come in just to enjoy a laid-back game of pool. Tables rent for $9 an hour, and the cost can be split up between players.

And for absolute beginners, free pool lessons are offered on Saturday afternoons from 1-3 p.m. with a table rental. Pre-registration is required for the free lessons. Pre-register by calling ahead.

Bargain hunters will find a real deal on Fridays from 8 a.m.-noon when pool tables are available for free. Other daily specials are also offered.

Maryann said their customer base is steadily growing as the community acceptance and participation has been "very, very good."

"Seventy-five percent of our business has been repeat customers," she said. "It's nice to see everybody come in and make friends among themselves." Most customers are locals, but the Warfields would like to see their business expand to include residents from throughout the lakes region.

Presently, the couple serves only frozen pizza for eats.

"But more food is coming down the road," Maryann said. "We still have quite a bit of undeveloped square footage, and we want to put in a kitchen and maybe an area with a trap set where musicians can gather to jam. But that's down the road a bit."
The bar serves beer and wine - no cocktails.

"We offer wines you wouldn't expect to find at your local bar," she said, "such as Merlot, Pinot Noir and I've just ordered a Cabernet-Merlot blend."

The name for the pool hall harks back to John's childhood.

"It was his childhood nickname," Maryann explained. "It was short for Beelzebub. I didn't know him back then, but he's changed a lot."

Devilish or not as a child, John's goal now is to build a business where anyone will feel welcome and not feel uncomfortable. That's the atmosphere the couple is seeking to create, and it's working.

"Everybody's first response when they walk in here is, "Wow! This isn't what I expected at all," Maryann said.

The place is so clean, so spacious and so "not sleazy" that you'd feel comfortable bringing your grandma here. And that's just what the Warfields want.

Beezle's is open 5 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m., Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday. Call to find out more about tournaments and leagues which will be coming soon.



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