Palace Billiards! A necessary part of my education that was not included by the Jesuits.
The old Palace (originally Graney's at 5th & Market, above the Telenews Theater) had a table in the back room that was used for exhibitions and they would let me play on it. It was like shooting pool in a church with no sound other than the click of the balls. I first saw Willie Mosconi shoot an exhibition there in 1960 and was mesmerized by the guy. Every time he came to S.F. I'd make it a point to see him. Never saw anything like it! He was like a ballet dancer and he rarely missed, if ever.
Cochran's at 1028 Market is where the gamblers played when they came to town and it smelled of spit and old cigars. You gave second thought about retrieving anything that fell to the floor. It was lighted only by the three bulbs above each table and was the scene of some of the best pool games I've ever seen, live or on TV. They had few tournaments then, so the players had to travel and promote their own money games.
San Francisco is bottomles well of free entertainment, but nothing beat being in Cochran's when pro pool players showed up for work.