BEST PLACE TO PLAY POOL Miami 2003 - Bird Bowl
It's not really the eighteen tables or the competitive pricing ($6 per hour per table from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. weekdays, $8.50 weeknights, and $9.50 weekends) that makes Bird Bowl the place to play pool. It's the people-watching. Weekend nights bring a massive throng to the pool hall section of Bird Bowl (also an arcade and popular bowling alley), but weekdays are the best time to check out the regulars. "They're here every day, seven days a week," says Bird Bowl general manager Wayne Graham. "They meet the guy who opens at the door every day at 11:00 a.m. They're neighborhood guys." The gentlemen in question (mostly older, mostly Cuban) are a marvel to watch, effortlessly intuiting the Euclidean geometry (and Newtonian physics) that guides the colored spheres while squinting through a puff of cigar smoke, grinning at opponents after a perfect bank shot drops into the pocket. Two warnings: 1) Despite the many tables, Bird Bowl's pool hall can get crowded on weekend nights; if you need perfect peace and quiet to make a shot, it's not the place for you. 2) The old guys shuffling around the tables may look harmless, but they're not. Play them at your own risk -- you may learn something.