Sometimes, simple food is the best food – especially if you’ve imbibed. A downtown Winter Haven staple for 37 years, Slate Family Billiards is that place you want to get drinks on Friday night and a bar-food lunch fix on Monday afternoon.
We sat down with one of the owners of Family Billiards, Bryan Rich to talk all things bar cuisine. Rich and his partner purchased the establishment in 2016. “I used to come here when I was sixteen with my brother, so I’ve been around Family Billiards for a while,” said Rich.
An incident in the electrical room left them with significant water damage. They took a year and a half to remodel, giving the pool hall a fresh look when it opened back up in September of 2018.
Known, of course, for billiards, beer, and cocktails, their menu is worth a second look as well. It boasts bar fare staples like wings, pizzas, and burgers, and other handhelds.
Their burgers and fried bologna sandwich are patron favorites according to Rich. Are you even from the South if you’ve never eaten a fried bologna sandwich? It’s one of those ‘Mamma used to make me’ meals pretty much guaranteed to be good. It is uncomplicated and satisfying. The Slate Family Billiards fried bologna sandwich consists of white bread, mayo, lettuce, tomato, melted American cheese and artfully fried (a term I’m going to start using more often) bologna.
“We use good ingredients. It’s simple food – but good ingredients make simple food good,” said Rich. Their menu is ever-changing, keeping the staples but adding and subtracting items to suit their customers. Some more recent additions include mac and cheese triangles, fried pickles, and corn nuggets. “We are going to revamp our burger menu and add different toppings – we’ll have a Hawaiian burger, a breakfast burger, a Texas burger,” added Rich.
Grab a beer on tap or try one of their signature cocktails like the blue Slate Margarita. If you’re looking to get adventurous with your drink choice, you can spin the Shot Wheel to take your chances on a variety of shots from a Washington Apple, Fireball, Lemon Drop, Irish Car Bomb and the like.
“It’s a fun atmosphere,” said Rich. The clack of billiards and hum of regulars chatting lends itself to a comfy, hometown bar vibe. The outdoor patio is the perfect place to enjoy a bite to eat and a few drinks when the weather is nice.
Though any billiards aficionados reading this might already know, Slate Family Billiards hosts APA Pool League on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday and darts tournaments on Wednesday. Check out their Facebook for more information.
Guests can get their hands on this, “Good old comfort food,” any day the pool hall is open from 11 am to 30 minutes before close. The food and drinks are tasty, sure, but what makes this place great? The customers. Rich said, “The customers are happy-go-lucky – they’re really nice people.”
Slate Family Billiards
20 4th St SW, Winter Haven, FL