The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
A new country and western-themed pool hall has opened in Port Arthur’s Jefferson City Shopping Center with a name that makes you snicker.
The bar called Mr. Giggles combines the concept of live music and pool playing, but most people just talk about the name.
“People thought it was a clown store, I told them the only clown here is me,” said owner, Steve Bland.
A career in truck driving and disc jockeying, and a run for Mayor of Bridge City in 2010, for Bland, owning his own entertainment venue has been a dream since he was hired as the first disc jockey at the famous Texas Longhorn Club in Vinton, La.
And Mr. Giggles was the only name he ever considered.
Bland found the name while studying truck driving at a school in South Carolina where he made a name for himself for his nervous laugh.
“The other truck drivers didn’t know what to make of me and so they said ‘You know what we’re gonna call you, we’re gonna call you Mr. Giggles,” said Bland. “At the time I thought, ‘That should be the name of a bar.’”
Although the name didn’t stick for Bland — people still call him by his old nickname Steve-O — the idea did.
Decades later and four months of renovations to the nondescript Port Arthur strip mall, the venue now expands to almost 1/4 acre of carpet and tile, with pool tables, a dance floor and an elevated stage.
“My place is one of a kind. There is no other place around here that has your pool hall and your entertainment in the same area,” said Bland.
His bartender and secretary, April Russell, has worked at several bars but never one quite like Mr. Giggles.
“A lot of guys go to the pool hall and leave their ladies at home,” said Russell. “Now they can bring their ladies with them and they can listen to the music or dance.”
Bland plans for his bar to be a sort of community center where serious and amateur pool players can come to hone their game and enjoy a safe party atmosphere.
“I wanted to have a place where people who live close by can come in and have a good time and not have to worry about all the drama and fights,” said Bland.
The bar provides security and ID scans and, starting in June, they will hold non-alcoholic teen-night every Monday.
Nearly every night Mr. Giggles hosts either a pool tournament, live music or both.
Bland plans to bring top entertainers including Nashville’s Charlie Allen, scheduled to play on June 29th and competitive pool players are welcome to join the Mr. Giggles-sponsored American Poolplayers Association pool team.
Southern Boys, a local southern rock band, performs Friday at 9 p.m. at Mr. Giggles, located at 3601 North Twin City Highway in Port Arthur.
Doors open at 7 p.m. and cover charges are $5 for singles and $8 for couples.