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Dining Pool Table Buyers Guide

Dining Pool Table Buyers Guide 0

At Robbies Billiards we have spent decades helping buyers decide what size, type, and style of pocket billiards table works best for their individual needs and budget.  One of our fastest growing and most misunderstood categories is Dining Pool Tables.  Most people think of the Beverly Hillbillies and their "fancy eating table" when I bring this up, but little do they know there is a special category of pocket billiard tables specifically designed to double as full time dining tables.  This category of pool tables is ideal for customers who want to put a game table in an upstairs room like a study or dining room and be able to use the game table to eat and entertain as well.

The most common misunderstanding about dining pool tables is what makes a dining pool table different from a pool table with a dining top.  That sounds a bit odd but it makes all the difference in how the table is used on a day to day basis.  For example, here is a very popular luxury rustic style American 8' pool table called the Carmel shown here with and without a leaf style dining conversion top.presidential carmel pool table with dining top and benchpresidential carmel pool table
You can definitely see the appeal of a trendy luxury farmhouse style furniture pool table like the Carmel as it would look GREAT in just about any home.  The dining top and bench seats allow the pool table to be used as a dining table as well, but there is a catch!  According to the Billiard Congress of America pool tables need to have a uniform height of the slate play surface of 29.25" to 31".  The pool table rail ads another 1.25" to 1.75" of height plus the dining top sits on risers or pads on the rails for an additional .75" to 1" rise.  With a dining conversion top American pool tables with have a height of 33" to 34" or more depending on the table design and how far off the floor it is shimmed for leveling purposes.  Standard dining table height is 29" to 30" Max to accommodate your typical dining chairs putting any pool table 4" to 5" too high to eat comfortably!

Many customers I talk to see this or similar pool tables online and think they can replace their existing dining table without issue but that height difference makes ALL the difference in sitting comfortably and enjoying a meal, especially for kids.  This is why you often see custom height dining benches offered with this style of pool table/dining top combo, you really don't have many options finding dining chairs tall enough to work with a pool table featuring a dining top.  Bench seats built 3 to 4 inches higher than standard help but the table still hits petite diners mid-chest.  Another issue can be the shape of the pool table legs allowing foot space under the table itself.  Bulky legs will interfere with seating and this varies from one pool table design to another. 
robbies billiards custom dining pool table rockville maryland

This brings me to another dining pool table design feature:  legs pushed all the way to the corners.  Take a look at our best selling Robbies Custom Dining Pool Table design and you will see that the legs pushed to the corners allows for more room to place dining chairs and diners' legs under the table when eating.  The table is still 33" high with the top installed, but we are getting closer to true dining table functionality and appearance with these style pool tables.  Unfortunately with the pool table slates weighting around 600 pounds this creates major issues engineering a stable and true playing pool table so you diffidently want to demo this style of table before considering a purchase and make sure the installer has long term Guarantee of Level.

A common question we get is "why don't they just cut the legs down a bit so the table is lower with the dining top?"  This is a great question with an easy answer:  If you do that you would not have adequate room to get your legs under the frame/rails, they would be too close to the ground!  Next question is usually, "then why don't they make the frame thinner on the sides so you have room for your legs?"   Another great question with a more complex answer:  In order to support the weight of the pool table slate the frame must be beefy enough to not sag, so to thin up the table frame you have to reinforce the frame with metal beam construction.  Metal beam construction is a critical feature of true "dining pool tables" that are built at 29" to 30" heights with thinner profile frames so your legs will fit underneath when eating.

So I explained why a pool table with a dining top is not truly interchangeable with your existing dining table but thankfully there do exist true Dining Pool Tables.  The fundamental feature of a true dining pool table is that the table is either built at or can be lowered to standard 29" to 30" height with the dining top installed.  The most popular true dining pool table of the 2000's is the Aramith Fusion table pictured here.

aramith fusion dining pool table black lacquer

aramith dining pool table fusion walnut

The first thing you notice about this table is the incredibly thin profile of the steel frame and legs.  Many residential customers and commercial designers buy this table simply for the look as it bears little resemblance to a traditional pool table and makes a statement just sitting there being admired.  The legs are pushed all the way to the perimeter of the table frame to create a more sleek modern profile and allow maximum leg room under the table when dining.  The key design element to the Fusion Table however is the patented ability to rise from 29" to 32" in height using the patented numismatic risers in the legs.  There are definitely some trade offs in playability with this engineering (you can read all about it on our Fusion Table Review) but if you need an every day dining table this is very hard to beat. 

Another table that features a hardwood frame built at 29" high with steel reinforcement beams is the Canada Billiard La Condo dining pool table.  This is another best seller because it can be custom built in dozens of woods and finishes in anything from 6' to 9' size options.  The trade off with this table is the fixed dining height of the table, but as a premium three piece tournament slate design it is a necessary trade off if you expect perfect roll and rebound during billiard play.
canada billiard la condo dining pool table lacquer finish
The first question I ask customers visiting our Rockville Maryland pool table design showroom when they inquire about using a pool table as a dining table is "how often do you plan on eating at this table vs playing pool on it?".  If the answer is occasional dining with the table primarily used for billiards I recommend just about any regular high quality three piece slate pool table with a dining top or even a ping pong conversion top.  This will be fine for overflow seating or "buffet" table use a few times a year. 

However if the answer is that it needs to be an every day dining table I strongly recommend customers consider getting a real Dining Pool Table like the Fusion or the La Condo.  Because of the fine materials and extra heavy duty steel beam construction real Dining Pool Tables are often much more expensive than standard three piece slate home pool tables.  For a buyer who really wants both it is well worth the additional investment long term to get the right table the first time.

As always if you have additional questions about the different pool table and dining pool table options available please shoot us an email at robbies.scheduling@gmail.com, call 301-331-7024 to talk to an expert, or plan a visit to our Rockville pool table design showroom to see these tables for yourself.

Robbies Dining Pool Table installed in Bethesda Maryland

Robbies Dining Pool Table installed in Bethesda Maryland 0

Thank you to Beth S. of Bethesda Maryland for permitting us to show her stunning custom Dining Pool Table showcase in this Bethesda Maryland residence.  The designer touches and exposed beam architecture fit perfectly with the lines and colors of this 7' Robbies Custom Dining Pool Table.  The matching four piece leaf dining top and spill/stain proof Olhausen Accu-Guard Khaki cloth complete the look.  Beth worked with Robbies Billiards and her professional designer to come up with this look and we have to admit the Dining Pool Table has never looked better!  They also added the matching accessory storage bench to tuck away all of the cues and playing accoutrements out of sight.  To see the Robbies Custom Dining Pool Table in person please visit our Rockville Pool Table design center, call 301-331-7024, or email robbies.scheduling@gmail.com for pricing and availabilityCustom dining pool table 8' khaki cloth with topCustom dining pool table 8' khaki cloth main 2Custom dining pool table 8' khaki cloth main 1Custom dining pool table 8' khaki cloth endCustom dining pool table 8' khaki cloth
Top Five Pool Tables and Game Room Trends for 2016

Top Five Pool Tables and Game Room Trends for 2016 0

As we approach the end of 2016 here in the Maryland, Virginia, and DC area it is pretty clear what the best pool table and game room furnishing trends are this year.  With our new Pool Table Design Center location in Rockville Maryland opening earlier this year feedback from the local design community in DC has been eye opening.  Here is a list of the biggest trends for 2016 coming to a game room near you!

Number 5:  Made in the USA Pool Tablesolhausen chicago pool table with modern rails

We have seen a huge demand for pool tables and furnishings Made in the USA for 2016.  Home buyers who have done their homework on manufacturer quality, warranty, and resale value come from all over to see real USA hand made pool tables and come up with custom designs.  Companies like Olhausen Billiards, Plank and Hide, and California House dominate not only our residential sales but also our commercial sales to designers who require something custom and with a heavy duty commercial warranty.  "You just can't get parts down the road from China, so Lifetime Warranties can have very nebulous meanings" as one industry insider recently quipped.

Number 4:  Lacquer Wood Finishesbillards toulet broadway dining pool table grey lacquer

In 2016 our best selling custom wood finish was Black Lacquer for the first time ever.  The natural wood finish has been replaced by the contemporary and very European filled/uniform lacquer process.  Companies like Billards Toulet in France do over 70% of their tables in lacquer finishes so this trend has made its way to the USA.  Mid century modern style tables, contemporary clean lines, and transitional tables all look great in lacquer finish options ranging from Blacks to greys in most cases.  This trend has been picking up for a few years but has finally peaked in 2016

Number 3:  Built in Hidden Accessory Storageolhausen ellianna pool table with drawer

The pool table storage drawer has been around for many years but it has never been more popular or available on so many different pool table designs.  Contemporary, rustic, or traditional everyone is adding built in drawers when available to the pool table.  Bench seating with built in storage and clever or unique accessory storage on the floor has taken the place of "on the wall" accessory racks in most homes.  Nine out of Ten buyers in 2016 have opted for a built in storage drawer or a floor rack they can hide away over a traditional on the wall rack display.  The trend to de-clutter the living space and open things up leads this trend and really can be considered the norm going forward into 2017

Number 2:  Matching Shuffleboard Tablesolhausen grace pool table with matching york shuffleboard table

Very recently major Pool Table Manufacturer's like Olhausen added custom built to match shuffleboard tables and this category has taken off unlike anything in years.  In 2016 one out of five of our custom pool table customers ordered a matching shuffleboard table to go with the pool table.  With the most popular size being 12' in a transitional style and dark finish, many companies are scrambling to get on board with this trend.  Based on current sales the shuffleboard category may surpass billiards in many US markets inside of the next three years

Number 1:  Dining Pool TablesMBM Biliardi Cabochon Dining Pool Table

Wow, what a strong trend for 2016!  More and more buyers both residential and commercial are looking at pool tables that will double as dining or conference tables with finished wood or glass conversion tops.  Demand for this category is so great we show FIVE types of dining pool tables in our Rockville location for Winter 2016.  The price range and styles are abundant and varied, but the main questions buyers have is 7' or 8' and at what height, 29" for dining chairs or 32" for billiards?  Few dining pool tables do both so many times compromises are necessary, but the end result is the same:  A pool table that gets used more than most tables ever do because it is upstairs and front of mind!