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A Pool Player's Paradise

Flamingo Sport's Bar

1230 9th St N

St. Pete, Fl 33705

This is Flamingo’s Bar and it’s known for three things:

1.) Author of On the Road and The Dharma Bums, Jack Kerouac, hung out here during the last months of his life.

2.) Flamingo’s Bar contends for oldest watering-hole in St. Pete.

3.) Professional pool players, and/or hustlers, regularly congregate here.

A Pool Player's paradise since 1969. There’s a constant crack of contact, like a forest of trees smashing into each other, where a hanging lamp, part tiffany part Budweiser, illumines the green felt pool tables in tight angles, while all around the outer dark players chalk their cues, then blow blue dust particles into the air. Flamingo’s Bar has three pool tables. Two are open to public play, and the third is invitation only.

The owner, Dale Nichols, bought the bar 56 years ago when he returned from Vietnam. Back then, the only other place to play billiards was the Pool Room on 2nd Ave., and it closed. “I always want to be close to the action,” says Dale, so Flamingo’s Bar became the place to play. Top ranked players, like USA champion Justin Hall, regularly congregate here.

Outside, a mural spanning the wall pays homage to Jack Kerouac, author of famous literary works like On the Road and The Dharma Bums. The mural depicts him playing pool, a wry smile barely spreading his mouth, a few interrupted pages of his writing scrawled around him incompletely read: “…the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time…”

In 1969, three months after Dale Nichols purchased Flamingo’s Bar, Jack Kerouac died at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Pete at age 47. The cause of death was an abdominal hemorrhage from a lifetime of heavy drinking. While Jack lives on the page, Dale and the pool players that cycle in and out of Flamingo’s Bar live for the table, the action. It is all a bit mad. Jack was right about that. I suppose that’s why I like Flamingo’s Bar so much: it’s mad and full of prose.

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