The game’s changing at Black Diamond in Spokane Valley, where a family is transforming a longtime billiards business into something more.
Patrons can still play pool – on reconditioned tables on floors that have been redone. But those changes are just the beginning.
Since buying the place 3 1/2 years ago, the Legault family – Steve, Kenna and son Jon – have added a dining room, a second bar and a stage, where there’s live music Friday and Saturday nights. They’ve also shifted their focus to craft beer and moved the menu from deep-fried pub grub to new-American alehouse cuisine.
“This place is no longer what it was,” said Will Welch, 33, Black Diamond’s marketing and promotions manager. “Everybody that comes in here and sees what we’ve done, they can’t believe it’s the same place. They’re, like, shocked. We have a shock-and-awe campaign going on here.”
Welch is one of those shocked-and-awed folks, too. He started frequenting the pool hall as a teen in the mid-1990s when the place was still called McQ’s.
“I’d come in here every day,” he said. “I’d play on the quarter tables. It was 50 cents then. It was just a pool hall. There was nothing else to it. Now, it’s a lot more.”
Black Diamond, which opened in the former McQ’s in September 2010, now boasts 33 taps, including 19 handles on regular rotation. Six are reserved for local beers.
In the past couple months, they’ve added craft beer cocktails – such as the Hop Dog, with pale ale, gin and fresh grapefruit juice shaken on the rocks – and fresh-pressed juice cocktails – such as the Black Rat, with dark rum, fresh orange juice and a splash of Coke.
There’s a Micro Monday special, with $3 pints of microbrews all day, and a Spokane Area Craft Beer Meet-up from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
There are still some deep-fried food options, but they are a little more upscale – like jalapeño wonton poppers, ale-battered mozzarella sticks with basil-tomato sauce, and ale-battered portabella mushrooms with artichoke ranch dressing.
New fare also includes Northwest grilled steak or chicken salad; a spinach salad with grilled portabella mushrooms, bacon and rosemary-infused vinaigrette; wild grilled salmon with an herbed chardonnay sauce, steak Stroganoff, and burgers like the jalapeño barbecue and pastrami egg.
There are 15 pool tables, and tournaments take place about once a month, with the largest during Labor Day weekend.
Happy hour runs from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. “It’s more like happy afternoon,” said owner Steve Legault, 60.
He won’t say just how much he spent on the renovations, but admits, “It was a lot.”
And they’re not done with the improvements.
Said Jon Legault, 29, the general manager, “We’re still changing things.”