Barfly - Q's Billiards
Beer pong may just be the last remaining unifier for our generation. While myriads of media outlets attempt to collect us under the same umbrella-like scope, nothing universally appeals to the splintered amalgam of the Information Age. Lots of things bring us together, but nothing brings us all together in a truly cohesive way. In an attempt to define our individuality through diverse subcultures, we can't seem to agree on anything – no specific thing defines us as a whole and transcends the various elements that make our generation a radically fragmented melting pot of influences. Nothing, that is, except beer pong. For the best place to experience this cultural phenomenon, get your pong on at Q's Billiards. Q's is arguably the best sports bar in LA county, and that's saying a lot considering how hard it is to assign a superlative to anything deemed "sports bar," but I digress. Designation notwithstanding, Q's offers an excellent selection of booze in a massively comfortable (and massively massive) double-decker labyrinth of bars and billiards. The main bar downstairs is simply beautiful. Situated in the center of the space, it provides ample seating in every direction and is packed with every single spirit you could conceive ordering. Over head are clusters of flat screens playing everything from the Bulls game to "King Kong," and there were enough of them that no matter where your girlfriend sat to tell you all about her day, you could still see the game behind her and still look attentive.
Farther over head, the balcony of the second floor bustled with people watchers and pool sharks and sports fanatics. Packed with tasteful, extremely comfortable furniture, the upper deck's seating was arranged in circular patterns around coffee tables that were littered with the drink glasses of chatty socialites. The second floor also boasted well-lit and well-staffed bars, pool tables, and televisions growing out of every nook and cranny.
Back downstairs, in a secluded wing off to the side, about a dozen red-velveted pool tables were arranged, Tetris-like across the floor. The scene is lit by dim but ample hanging lamps, LCD TV's in every corner, and the amber street light glow of Wilshire Boulevard through enormous street-facing window panes. Within this cozy corner pocket is where Q's sinks the eight ball.
Every Sunday, Q's hosts one of the most popular beer pong tournaments on the west side, pitting 32 two-man teams against each other for a shot at the title – and a $100 bar tab. The pool tables are covered with protective tarps and beer pong boards are place on top, designating the customary triangle pattern where 10 water-filled cups are to be arranged. The beer is served in separate glasses to prevent alcohol abuse (beer loss through overfoam, a byproduct of filling, emptying and washing out all those Solo cups) and so you don't end up catching carpet debris in your teeth. Standard beer pong rules apply to game play, and the $15 contest is single elimination.
Of the teams present last Sunday, almost all were household names at Q's: We're Goin' In, The Argentineans, Bi-Winning. The competitors come from UCLA, USC, SMC, and Burbank. There are players from Westwood, Hollywood, Inglewood and Oakwood. There are players who seem undefeatable, and there are players who have never played before in their life. But it didn't matter where they were from or where they were going; it didn't matter if they got better as they got drunker or if they had to sober up to shoot straight; it didn't even matter who won – all that mattered was having a good time. Maybe that's why beer pong has spanned the segmented gaps of our Dionysian, single-synaptic, over-caffeinated culture: If you win you get to keep playing; if you lose you get to keep drinking. It doesn't matter if you are victorious or defeated – you are always rewarded.
The one constant through all the years, has been beer pong. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But beer pong has marked the time. This game – it's a part of our past. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh...people will come play beer pong at Q's on Sunday. People will most definitely come.