In the seminal pool film The Hustler
, Paul Newman plays Fast Eddie Felson, a pool shark on a mission to topple the greatest player in the land, Minnesota Fats, at a legendary pool hall called Ames. Along the way, playing in a backwater pool dive, Eddie gets his thumbs broken for hustling some locals. The message? You want to play at Ames, not in a dingy dive with one quarter-operated table. Luckily, St. Louis has its own real-life pool hall of legend. The vision of the recently departed three-time national billiards champion Harry "Hollywood Fats" Sims, Airport Billiards features nine well-kept Brunswick Gold Crown pool tables and one (very popular) pocketless table. It has the look and feel of a classic pool hall. The beer is cheap, the smoke is thick, the players are colorful and there's always a game to be had. Worried about getting sharked? Like the man says: Never bet a man who carries his cue in a leather satchel.