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Enough of the Wine Already, Let’s Play Pool! In Mendoza.

Mendoza, Argentina. 

Cue sticks

The casual oenophile can only take so many wine tastings before her blood alcohol levels start to sky rocket and her patience for excessively poetic wine descriptions flat lines. Nothing like a cold cheep beer to level the fancy/slummy alcohol ratio in a jiffy. But beer is best drunk as an accompaniment to something else: a burger, a Jimmy Buffet concert, a NASCAR race. It’s also a damn good companion to a game of pool. At the cavernous Andes Billar & Pool Avenida in downtown Mendoza, customers order a rack of balls and a few cold ones before installing themselves at their pool table. While they warm up, dignified old waiters in Brasserie-style suits shuffle over to them, balancing drinks and peanuts with nerve-racking frailty. The old world atmosphere is compounded by the fact that there are no women in sight, and the slice of the male demographic in attendance is extremely manly, with big worn hands and protruding beer bellies. At the pool hall their seemingly ungainly physique transforms into something altogether athletic as they prowl around the tables, hone in on a target, and then strike with the utmost confidence and precision. Even if the sport of pool eludes you, a trip to Andes Billar & Pool is worth the effort if for nothing else than a glimpse of blue collar leisure in a city of generally snooty diversions.

Massive pool hall, Mendoza

The Swede sets up his shot

Table service Andes beer and peanuts

Total amateur

Entrance to the pool hall

Practical Info: The Billard hall known as Andes Billar & Pool Avenida is located on Avenida San Martin, two doors down for the Banco Francès, in downtown Mendoza.

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