The House Cue Sticks
What you'll find when you first walk into a pool hall or tavern is a table, of course, but also a rack on the wall that will contain several cues called “house cues.” The cues may not be the best in the world, but they are usually adequate for practice shots. Any bar or pool hall will have a collection of various house cues, but none of them may be the right size for you. If you find that you really enjoy shooting pool, you'll probably want to invest in your own cue. A cue stick is a very personal tool. What feels right to one player may not necessarily feel right to you.
Bars aren't really known for maintaining their cues, mainly because they aren't pool halls and pool isn't their main focus of business. You will notice that the house cues have leather tips that are smooth, shiny, and often black — that's not a good thing. They are likely in bad shape, are poorly cared for, and have definitely never been replaced. There's no way you'll be able to be the kind of player you want to be using a cue like that! So, now you know that the house cue will never do for you.