On a typical night at Auburn Billiards, Brad Newsome may be down between the tables passing pool sticks and cracking jokes while Alfred Davis may be in the back crunching the numbers and handling the books.
The pool hall’s two co-owners are different people, but they’ve found in their new business partnership that their personalities complement one another.
“He’s a fist and I’m a glove. If there’s a problem, he’s going to find a solution. My goal is to do the best I can to help smooth out the corners,” Davis said.
Newsome opened Auburn Billiards in late 2020, and after a year of operation, Davis came on board on Jan. 13 — and Newsome has found that Davis brings some strengths to the ownership that he couldn’t, and vice versa.
Since January, the two have upgraded the playing surfaces on the pool tables, expanded the drink selection at the bar, and have plans to offer cigars.
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Talking in a booth at the pool hall, Newsome seems tough and Davis seems smooth. They took two paths to get here: Where Newsome is a military guy, Davis sank into his studies at school.
But one thing brought them together: Pool.
“He plays well, so that obviously got my attention, when somebody plays as well as he does,” Newsome said.
Davis added: “It takes one mutual friend and a few good games to start real conversations.”
After a while, Newsome and Davis sat down and drew some things up. Davis had started as a regular but decided to get more involved.
“When he hit me up and I had the opportunity to help him out, to partner up, take this place to the next step — I didn’t hesitate,” Davis said.
Davis describes Newsome as the ‘bull’ of the two. “He’s got a big alpha mentality,” he said.
“From a balanced perspective, it’s comforting to have somebody you know that has no problem picking the reins. You can just handle the numbers or the books,” Davis added.
Davis, meanwhile, has brought in fresh new ideas. Adding the cigar humidors is all him: “I have a large selection of cigars from across the country — from across the world. That’s my thing.”
Pool is Newsome’s thing.
He started playing when he was 12. He said he’s always wanted to open a pool room, and in 2020 that’s exactly what he did.
“I’ve played pool for 37 years. My dream is to sit in a pool room and watch people play pool — this is what I started pursuing,” he said, gesturing around Auburn Billiards.
“This is my passion. I’ve been in love with pool for as long as I can remember.”
Another thing the two agree on is the environment they want at Auburn Billiards.
On Frederick Road and away from the ups and downs of downtown, Newsome and Davis want a bar that’s affordable and prioritizes relationships with customers.
“We’re big on neutral environment. We wanted to be the not downtown bar — the place you can come to get away from the volatility, the high levels of energy,” Davis said.
“All of them have a place,” Newsome said of the scene in Auburn. “I’ve always wanted a nicer place. There’s a lot of pluses here that a lot of people don’t have.
“We try to keep it low-key. Manners are enforced here. That’s where my bull comes in,” he added with a laugh.
Auburn Billiards is open 2 pm to midnight and its specials include industry night on Sunday and specials Tuesday for military, first responders and ladies.
“There are certain things that he’s always going to spearhead that I don’t want any part of, and on the flip side he’s like, ‘Man, just figure this stuff out,’ so it’s been good so far,” Davis said.
“Having both of those from a leadership perspective in a place as volatile as a bar has so far turned out to be pretty valuable. It makes it easy to work with him,” he added.