EDGEWATER — Pressure Billiards and Cafe will have one last weekend in business after 16 years in the neighborhood.
The pool hall at 6318 N. Clark St. will close permanently after Sunday. It ends a run for the local business that opened in 2005 and helped launch a chain of pool halls on the North Side.
After two years of a pandemic that has wrought havoc on local businesses, owner Wahib Merchant said the time had come to close Pressure. The business’s lease was ending, and Merchant decided to consolidate and focus on his pool halls in Albany Park and Logan Square.
Pressure closed for more than six months at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and the business had trouble getting back on its feet, Merchant said.
“We decided to focus on our other ventures,” he said. “It’s unfortunate. My appreciation for the neighborhood is huge.”
Merchant opened Pressure in September 2005, choosing to open in Edgewater after growing up in Rogers Park.
Since then, Merchant and his wife, Kareeshma Ali, opened Surge Coffee Bar and Billiards in Albany Park. In 2020, they opened Surge Billiards in Logan Square.
With Pressure, Merchant said he sought to change the reputation of pool halls as adult-only hangout spots to family-friendly community gathering spaces. Adding a cafe to Pressure helped pave the way for the Surge brand, which includes a coffee bar at the Albany Park location and desserts in jars in Logan Square, Merchant said.
“We’ve showed the side that’s recreational and family fun rather than intimidating,” he said. “It was a great experience. It helped get us started.”
Pressure’s last day of business will be Super Bowl Sunday. Some equipment will be moved out by then, but it will give customers a chance to say good-bye.
“This was our first home,” Merchant said. “We thank everyone for the support over the years.”
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