Crazy Like a Fox: It's more than felt and flair at the Westside billiard lounge | Chow | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Coverage for Central Oregon, by Central Oregonians.
100% Local. No Paywalls.

Every day, the Source publishes a mix of locally reported stories on our website, keeping you up to date on developments in news, food, music and the arts. We’re committed to covering this city where we live, this city that we love, and we hear regularly from readers who appreciate our ability to put breaking news in context.

The Source has been a free publication for its 22 years. It has been free as a print version and continued that way when we began to publish online, on social media and through our newsletters.

But, as most of our readers know, times are different for local journalism. Tech giants are hoovering up small businesses and small-business advertising—which has been the staple for locally owned media. Without these resources, journalism struggles to bring coverage of community news, arts and entertainment that social media cannot deliver.

Please consider becoming a supporter of locally owned journalism through our Source Insider program. Learn more about our program’s benefits by clicking through today.

Support Us Here

Food & Drink » Chow

Crazy Like a Fox: It's more than felt and flair at the Westside billiard lounge

It's more than felt and flair at the Westside billiard lounge.


If Fox's Billiard Lounge was a Hollywood movie, I imagine the pitch would have been something along the lines of Color of Money meets Cocktail. It's unclear whether owner Marshall Fox is Tom Cruise's number one fan or just felt that Newport Avenue was severely lacking in a pool hall with bartenders who can juggle their shakers, but either way, his far-fetched concept has turned out to be shear genius. Throw in the abundance of games to play, the all-day happy hour and the Vegas décor including sparkly beaded curtains, dark leather couches and red felt pool tables, and it's hard not to suspect that it was all set up as a sting operation to lure you in, get you drunk and steal your wallet. But that's another movie. Fox's is gimmicky, yes, but certainly not a scam. With everything in the place priced well below the norm, it would be pretty tough to lose the family farm at Fox's.

The menu consists entirely of $5 dishes. Drinks are also absurdly cheap with all beers for $2.75 including microbrews, well drinks for $3.75 and wine for $5. It's pretty inconceivable that you could make any money that way, but Fox's seems to be making up for it in volume. Perennially packed with a complete cross-section of Bend dwellers, from cougars on vacation to COCC's finest, this grown-up playground has received a very warm welcome on the Westside where sushi, gourmet groceries and high-end kitchenware have always ruled.

I know what you're thinking: They get you on the games. Not so. Pool is only $8 per hour and shuffleboard and foosball a reasonable $5 per hour. You can even snag the VIP room in the back with a private lounge, TV, Wii system, pool table and direct phone line to the bar for only $20 per hour. Then the drinks must be watered down. Nope. Besides the fact that they're being served by "flair" bartenders, which can get old fast (visit for a hysterical definition of the term), drinks are completely normal. Okay, then the plates must be tiny and/or straight out of a freezer bag, right? Also not the case. Granted, we're not talking about fine-dining, and of course there are some clunkers on the menu, but they're full portions for $5, and in most cases you're getting more than you paid for.

I'd avoid dishes where Fox's overreaches like the Mandarin Chicken Canapés. The flavors were a little confused and, frankly, canapés and foosball just don't mix in my book. I'd also issue a warning about the Hot Wok Wings, which you can get doused in a variety of sauces. Not that they're bad but they're not what I want when I order hot wings. No nice little wings and tiny drumsticks here, Fox's version is all legs that are absolutely Flinstonian in size and more plausibly from a pterodactyl than a chicken. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the Tortilla Soup. It was a traditional preparation on the brothier side, served with a dollop of cilantro lime cream. The garlic and truffle cheese fries were also very successful, seasoned and topped with garlic, Parmesan and a drizzle of truffle oil.

Dessert plates were pretty much a fried sugar bomb across the board, but I expected nothing less when I ordered the Fried Twinkies, Tempura Apple Rings (they tasted remarkably like pancakes), Cinnamon Beignets with three syrupy dipping sauces and Fried Cookie Dough Bites with vanilla bean ice cream. The latter took the cake.

Fox's also offers breakfast on weekends with ample wide screens for football season. I'm not sure I could stand to watch my Bloody Mary assaulted with Fox's level of flair and enthusiasm - morning drinks should be served straight up and with a scowl - but the free pool that comes along with it might be enough for me to make an exception.

Fox's Billiard Lounge

937 NW Newport Ave., 647-1363. Mon.-Fri. 4 p.m. to close;
Sat.-Sun. 9:30 a.m.-close

About The Author

Add a comment

More by Alice Finer

  • Repeat Offender: Central Oregon's bad-boy Top Chef defends his title

    Kokanee Cafe's Roscoe Roberson takes home the top honors again at this Bite of Bend
    • Jun 30, 2010
  • Little Bites: Repeat Offender: Central Oregon's bad-boy Top Chef defends his title

    Another Top Chef Competition at Bite of Bend has come and gone, leaving delicious memories in its wake (and for us judges the residual heartburn and sunburn that go along with them!).
    • Jun 30, 2010
  • Après Ski Pub Crawl! - Eat and drink your way down the mountain for a song

    There are pros and cons to situating a ski resort on National Forest land, but one of the biggest cons for Mt. Bachelor - that last call for food and alcohol coincides with the last chair at around 4 p.m. - can also be a huge pro. Since après ski up top lasts only a few minutes, local businesses all the way down the mountain and into town roll out some excellent happy hour options to lure in passers-by looking for post-play refreshments. Whether you're a vacationer or a local, a hungry winter sportsman or simply a bargain hunting day-drinker looking for a deal, there's après ski merriment to be found around every corner. Set yourself up with an appetite and a designated driver and embark on your very own après pub-crawl down the hill - a must for any winter in Bend. Here's one possible route, in geographical order:
    • Dec 30, 2009
  • More »