Marco’s pool hall cues up for return

Paul Demarco says it is a 'privilege' to open the Grove Street venue again. Picture: Julie Howden
Paul Demarco says it is a 'privilege' to open the Grove Street venue again. Picture: Julie Howden
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One of the Capital’s most iconic pool venues is to relaunch at the end of the month, five years after closing.

Marco’s, in Grove Street, shut in 2009, but now owner Paul Demarco has announced it is set to return – and pledged to offer punters the “most astonishing” pool facility in the world.

In its heyday, Marco’s was the biggest snooker and pool centre in Europe, boasting 65 pool tables, a gym and a popular kid’s play area.

Mr Demarco said the new venue, which is on the same site, will feature 18 American pool tables and a pizza bar spread over two floors with brand new “state-of-the-art” facilities.

“We are going to reinvent pool,” he said. “This will be like no other pool hall ever seen anywhere. It’s going to be the most astonishing facility for pool in Scotland, and even in the UK – if not the world.”

The original Marco’s was opened by snooker legend Luigi Umberto ‘Bert’ Demarco in the early 1980s.

The so-called “godfather of snooker”, he rose from humble beginnings in Leith to become the country’s top amateur snooker star – bagging the Scottish Championship in 1965 and contesting the world title a year later.

In 1975, he turned his passion for the sport into a business by opening the Angle Club pool hall in Morningside. Soon, he had four sites in the Capital – including Marco’s and more recently the sprawling Corn Exchange – and was expanding into Glasgow and beyond.

His son, Paul, now managing director of family business Marco’s Leisure, said: “I grew up as a young boy in the Grove Street pool hall and helped to design it as a child. I’m really excited to be opening it again – it’s a privilege for me to do it.”

The upstairs of the new venue will include features salvaged from the old interior, including hundreds of snooker balls saved from the tip. But Mr Demarco insisted the lower floor would offer something “completely different”.

City centre councillor Joanna Mowat expects the relaunch to prove a popular.

She said: “It’s always lovely to have a family business back – and this has been a long time coming. I’m sure regulars will be delighted.”

Excited locals took to social media to hail the return of an “Edinburgh landmark”.

Scott Campbell said: “Genuinely delighted to see this re-opening, spent days in Marco’s as a child then later as a Paul Newman wannabe adult. Better get practising!”

James Robertson said: “Looking good! Cannae wait to visit my family and friends so I can pop in. Been too long without Marco’s!”

Mr Demarco said the new snooker hall would open its doors at the end of the month or the beginning of November at the latest.