Where Would You Like to Stay?


Bygone Billiards at The Tavern

Bygone Billards

NOTE: This article was published in June 2022. While much of the art that graced The Tavern is still a part of the Hardy Family Art Collection, including the billards tables, The Tavern no longer exists at Nemacolin, and the space has been reimagined. The information here is a part of the rich and discoverable history of Nemacolin.

When you visit Nemacolin, you’ll soon discover that more than 1000 pieces of art and history are a part of the Hardy Family Art Collection — and 95 percent of the pieces are on display around the resort. Last appraised at $45 million, the collection showcases an eclectic mix of stunning works offering “something for everyone” as a “feast for the palate, a feast for the eyes, and a feast for the imagination,” says Nemacolin’s founder, Joseph A. Hardy III.

When taking a stroll through the resort’s grand hallways to enjoy dinner, drinks, or some retail delight, art can be found everywhere. Step inside The Tavern, and you feel as though you’ve taken a step back in time to the days of Mae West and Diamond Lil. Turn back time more than 120 years, and you’ll discover two billiards tables from the late 19th century in The Tavern.

Brunswick-Balke-Collender, Co., is the manufacturer of record for both The Cambridge and The Pfister billiards tables, believed to be manufactured in 1894 and 1898, respectively. Today, the company is simply known as Brunswick. Both tables measure a majestic 110 inches long, 60 inches wide, and 33 inches high, making the luxury of your play feel like you’re channeling “Cowboy” Jimmy Moore, a bit of Rudolpf “Minnesota Fats” Wanderone, or even a touch of Paul Newman as The Hustler. Not only are these fascinating beauties on display, but you’ll also be able to sit down with a pitcher of beer while you master your break, hug the rail, or make a run on the table.

If you’re one who yearns for the elegance of a simple and classic table, you’ll find pleasure in The Cambridge. Known for its four or six circular legs (ours has six) with fluted bands and weight-bearing Ionic-style caps above, this mahogany beauty has a Vermont slate bed, intricate carvings, and moldings in the style of raised, egg and dart, and beaded moldings.

An exceptionally solid and substantial table, The Pfister was originally marketed as the table to deliver the best play results due to its absolute perfection in manufacturing. Nothing was left undone, especially when it came to the 1 1/2-inch-thick, dowelled, Vermont slate that does away with screw holes on the surface of the bed. The heavy framework and six curved legs with carved feet, bring exhilaration to the pro or to the novice.

Mark Twain once said, “The game of billiards has destroyed my naturally sweet disposition.”  You can take a selfie in The Lodge with a life-sized bronze sculpture of Mr. Twain (created by artist Desmond Fountain), but we’re sure that playing on tables from the 1800s will only enhance your disposition.

To top it off, the weekends at Nemacolin often deliver live, late-night entertainment at The Tavern. Gather your crew for burgers, bleu fries, and your favorite brew, then enjoy the tunes, and try out your bank shot on a bygone piece of historical art.

Published on: