It had been 10 years since owners Ronnie and Laura Roark had set foot in Warehouse Billiard Bar, the 11,000-square-foot pool hall Ronnie opened in 1984, when in early 2016 they revisited the space following the retirement of their longtime general manager.
It did not take long for the couple to decide the business was long overdue for a remodel.
“Pretty much everything had to be redone to make it what people in Austin expect today,” Ronnie said. “In Austin, everything is changing; everything is new. We said there is no reason why an old legacy business cannot adapt.”
After spending a half-million dollars in renovations, redesigning the logo and recovering all of the pool tables, the business formerly known as the Warehouse Saloon and Billiards transformed into the Warehouse Billiard Bar, where, as Ronnie puts it, “booze, billiards and games” converge.
Today, Warehouse Billiard Bar features 25 televisions, 16 pool tables, 33 draft beer taps, a variety of games, an expansive cocktail list and more. Still, relics of the past remain, such as the original 22-foot shuffleboard table from when the hall first opened.
The driving force behind the redesign, Laura made the decision to nix “Saloon” from the business’s name—a decision she said was made to appeal to a wider demographic.
“The boys had a hard time listening, but I kept telling them this is not a place where women would want to go,” she said.
An integral part of the business’s renewed success is in large part owed to General Manager Kelly Jones, Ronnie said. Jones had been in the Austin hospitality business for nearly 27 years when he left BJ’s Brewhouse to spearhead the Warehouse rebranding in March 2016.
“We decided to be one of the best pool halls in Austin, if not Texas,” Jones said.