It’s been open since mid-October, but you may not have known it because Racks Sports Bar & Grille, at 272 St. John St. in Portland, is hard to spot from the strip-mall parking lot. If you want to see all that Racks has to offer — the whole 11,000 square feet — you have to venture in and head downstairs.

Owners Joel Turgo, Joey D’Andrea and Cynthia Terroni completely renovated what was The Station. They tore down a brick wall, added large leather couches, booths and high-top tables, and created a sports bar on one side of the entrance and a pool hall on the other. They also have a private room that can be reserved for functions and parties for 50 to 60 people.

In just a couple of months, Racks already has some regulars, and the clientele ranges from groups of college students to older men who are serious about their billiards. The pool hall is geared for ages 21 and older, but minors are welcome if accompanied by an adult.

Racks boasts 15 pool tables that can be rented hourly ($4) and two tables that are coin-operated. There are dart boards, arcade and Wii games, and a jukebox for use when no band or DJ is rocking the house. Check the online schedule frequently (, because Racks hosts shows with comedians and hypnotists, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) viewings on the many flat-screen televisions, and many other events.

There’s a full bar stocked with all the usual liquors as well as a huge selection of beer. Available on tap by the glass or pitcher, choose from Magic Hat, Gritty’s Pub Style, Shipyard Export and Prelude, Coors Light, Budweiser, Miller Lite, Heineken and Guinness, to name a few.

In bottles, you’ll find Molson Canadian, Beck’s, Samuel Adams, Rolling Rock, Bud Light, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Twisted Tea and Smirnoff varieties. Anyone who needs some extra encouragement when it comes to the drink selection can see the girls in short-shorts and tight tees who just might be handing out shots.

Hanging out with drinks at a pool table can make you hungry, which is why Racks has a pub-style menu and a kitchen that keeps cooking until 12:30 a.m. Try the chicken tenders ($6.95), a steak-and-cheese sandwich ($7.95) or an eight-ball burger straight up ($4.95). I love that they serve late-night egg sandwiches for a mere $3.

With different specials to entice anyone on a budget, Racks offers $1 drafts and $6 pitcher nights, with rotating choices. Happy hour is 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, with $1 off all draft beers. Friday night is ladies night, which includes free pool.

Mark your calendar for free pool on Christmas Day. If it’s anything like Thanksgiving at Racks, there will also be a buffet and loads of drink specials.

With new hours — 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. all seven days — the word should be spreading about Racks. Some might go to check out the sweet waitresses, others will come back for the pool, and everyone will benefit from the wallet-friendly specials.

Amber Olesen is a freelance writer who lives in Westbrook.