RACK ‘EM UP: BILLIARDS MAY RETURN TO RB

14-w-frontIf approved by the zoning board, a billiards hall called Lucky Break will move into the long-vacant storefront at 14 West Front. (Click to enlarge)

[This article was updated with new info at 12:25 p.m. Thursday, September 21.]

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna’s push for more after-hours activities downtown appears to be gaining momentum.

The prospective tenant of a West Front Street storefront that’s been vacant for more than three years is proposing to create a pool hall there, redbankgreen has learned.

James Hertler has filed paperwork with the borough to open a business called Lucky Break Billiards at the site, which has been vacant since menacing-motorcycle dealer Von Dutch bailed out in early 2008.

Because it would be situated in a retail zone, the pool hall needs a use variance from the zoning board, a borough official tells us. No hearing has yet been scheduled.

Hertler, of Red Bank, tells redbankgreen the 3,000-square-foot space is in an “ideal location,” at one of the busiest crossroads in town and within an olive’s throw of three bars: Fixx, Downtown and Red.

He and his business partner, Jeff Regan, plan to offer hourly rentals on seven pool tables, plus coffee and desserts. Lucky Breaks will be open until 10 p.m. weeknights, with weekend closings to be determined.

Hertler and Regan, “friends since pre-K,” hope to open the parlor in November.

While both have been fans of the felt for years, “neither of us is a passionate player,” Hertler said. “We didn’t set out to make a place for serious players. This is for casual players” and people just looking for something to do at night. The hall will be up to pro standards, though, he adds.

Pool halls and arcades were among the types of businesses Menna lobbied the borough council to permit back in February as a way to boost foot traffic downtown and keep restaurant patrons from leaving after their meals.

Already, the push has resulted in an OK from the zoning board for a retro video arcade business, Yestercades, which is now preparing to open at 80 Broad Street, next door to the Broadway Grille.

The building that would house Lucky Break is owned by Mehmet Ors. It’s in foreclosure, with a Monmouth County Sheriff’s sale scheduled for November, according to county records. How that might affect the deal was not immediately clear.