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NIGHT SHIFT

County Racks Up New Billiard Hall

March 10, 1994|ROSE APODACA | Rose Apodaca is a free-lance writer who contributes regularly to The Times Orange County Edition. and

Pool sharks have another jewel to treasure in the county's crown of upscale halls with the addition of Diamond Billiards in Brea.

As elegant as its chief competitors, Metropolis and the Shark Club, Diamond also enlists industrial decorator touches such as exposed pipes and air ducts overhead. However, while its peers offer the game in a plush, neo-Renaissance setting with dark woods, velvet seating and reproductions of classic Western European art, this month-old club takes a lighter, more modernist approach.

The hand-textured marbleized walls in golden caramel are as sublime as the leopard-print carpeting covering most of the 6,500-square-foot floor. The original art is minimalist and contemporary.

And, while Metropolis and Shark Club offer room to dance, Diamond Billiards focuses the action exclusively at the tables.

The half-moon bar top and its surrounding flooring are of black granite, but the area is warmed by the golden wood that makes up the classic bar. There, a black T-shirt clad crew serves 10 beers on tap, including Samuel Adams, Pete's Wicked Lager and a microbrew called Oregon Honey, from $3 for domestic to $3.50 for imports. There are 15 bottled beers to choose from at $3 to $4. Also on the list are wells, $3.50; glasses of wine, $3.50 to $4.50; and soft drinks, $1.50. A happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, offers domestics for $2 and imports for $2.50. The menu features appetizers, quick dinners and desserts, most under $6.

Smoke-eaters throughout the place do away with the cigarette exhaust from this mostly twentysomething crowd. The dress code is casually fashionable, but a dress shirt untucked--even when worn with a suit--will get you a request from the beefy doorman to, well, tuck it in.

An unobtrusive and amiable staff caters to patrons' needs, from racking the balls to lighting a cigarette. After every game, an employee freshens up the tables, positioning the sticks, wiping down the chrome and collecting the balls.

So what about the tables? Try 14 Gold Crown IIIs with the ultimate surfaces, similar to those seen in the American Open. These babies cost $7,000 a pop and are worth every penny. They may prove slippery for the novice, but any decent player should definitely check them out.

Rates are $6 an hour until 6 p.m. daily, rising in the evening to $12 per hour Sunday through Thursday and $15 on Friday and Saturday. A table near the bar regularly offers challenge tournaments after 9 p.m. until closing on the weekends, where patrons can play for $2 until they lose.

Each table features its own cushy booth only steps away and a cable-equipped TV hanging from above. There are two semiprivate areas with seating for up to 25 people, available by reservation or on a first-come basis. Charity tournaments at the recently opened hall have been planned, and leagues have started, with time allotted Monday through Wednesday nights.

Adding to the mystique, an elevator ride is required to get up to Diamond Billiards, which is on the second floor in this designed-for-yuppies shopping center (complete with a gym and full-service salon). Look for the club's entrance around the corner from Caffe Classico coffeehouse.

* DIAMOND BILLIARDS

* 910 East Birch St., Suite 300, Brea.

* (714) 255-1800.

* Open daily, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

* No Cover

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