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IndustryRestaurant, retail
FounderPaul Blucher "Booch" Venable
United States
ProductsBar, restaurant, pool hall
Cue sports tables at Booches

Booches is a bar, restaurant and pool hall at 110 S. 9th Street in downtown Columbia, Missouri that was established in 1884.[1][2][3] It is the oldest pool hall in Columbia and is known for its hamburgers. It is located near the University of Missouri and has traditionally been frequented by college students.


Booches was established in 1884, has had six locations in downtown Columbia, and has been at its present location on Ninth Street since 1928.[4] It is the oldest pool hall in Columbia and has full-sized pool tables, snooker tables, and one billiard table (no pockets) for three cushion billiards play.[2][5][6] Booches is known for its hamburgers, which are served on wax paper, and a 2000 report in USA Today listed it as one of the best 25 burger restaurants in the United States.[5][6][7][8][9] In 2005, Jerry Shriver of USA Today included Booches' hamburger on the list of top 25 dishes from his "Down-home Dining" project.[10]

Booches is likely named after its founder, Paul Blucher "Booch" Venable, who was nicknamed "Booch" as a child by writer Eugene Field.[11][12] The restaurant has gone through many owners in its time and was a male-only establishment until the 1970s.[6][12] During the times of racial segregation in the United States, the establishment would not serve African Americans.[13]

During the mid to late 1970s, the then-owners of Booches edited and published four issues of the Review la Booche, a nationally published literary journal[14][15] featuring poetry, prose, sketches, and photographs by contributors of such prominence as John Ciardi, William Stafford, Elton Glaser, Frank Stack, and Richard Eberhart, along with local and regional contributors. The review was revived in 1990 for a fifth and final issue.

Booches is located close to the University of Missouri,[16] and it has traditionally been a haven for University of Missouri and St. Louis Cardinals sports fans.[3][11][17][18] The establishment has a considerably more family-friendly atmosphere compared to its rougher atmosphere in past times.[11] It has been described by some in contemporary times as a dive bar and a melting pot.[7][19]

Booches was inducted into the Boone County Hall of Fame at the Walters-Boone County Historical Museum in 2016.[20]

In popular culture[edit]

Booches was included in the film Norm, which aired on ESPN's SEC Network.[21][22] Norm depicted the career of the former University of Missouri basketball coach Norm Stewart, who was a regular patron of the establishment.[21][22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Staples, Andy (August 9, 2017). "Ranking America's best college town meals". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Jarzemsky, Matt (April 18, 2008). "Pool hall popularity change over generations". Columbia Business Times. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Simonds, D. (2004). Best Food in Town: The Restaurant Lover's Guide to Comfort Food in the Midwest. Clerisy Press. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-57860-146-2. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  4. ^ McKinney, Roger (October 14, 2016). "Karen Miller announces initiative to digitize Boone County historical photo negatives". Columbia Daily Tribune. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Stern, J.; Stern, M. (2017). Roadfood, 10th Edition: An Eater's Guide to More Than 1,000 of the Best Local Hot Spots and Hidden Gems Across America. Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony. p. 296. ISBN 978-0-451-49620-1. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c Pham, Scott (November 30, 2012). "Booches' Famous Burgers Seek New Buns After Hostess Plant Closes". NPR. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Melville, Greg (May 10, 2012). "Where Can I Find America's Best Hamburgers?". Outside. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  8. ^ Styron, Emery (March 19, 2017). "The August eclipse is the 'most spectacular thing you'll ever see,' especially in Missouri". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  9. ^ Hochman, Benjamin. "Hochman: Mizzou's Houck might be nation's best college pitcher". Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  10. ^ Shriver, Jerry (December 22, 2005). "Belly-up to the table for the finest fare around the world". USA Today. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  11. ^ a b c Columbia:. Images of America Series. Arcadia Publishing. 2014. p. 92. ISBN 978-1-4671-1300-7. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  12. ^ a b Redohl, Sarah (August 7, 2013). "Entertainment through the Ages". Columbia Business Times. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  13. ^ McKinney, Roger (December 20, 2016). "97-year-old Columbia World War II veteran to receive diploma from Douglass High School". Columbia Daily Tribune. Retrieved November 8, 2017
  14. ^ Braden, Jonathon (October 14, 2016). "Fire claims life of former Booches co-owner". Columbia Daily Tribune. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  15. ^ "David Ignatow Papers, 1929 - 1994". University of California, San Diego library. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  16. ^ The Best of photojournalism. Best of Photojournalism Series. National Press Photographers Association. 1987. p. 233. ISBN 978-0-89471-470-2. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  17. ^ The Savitar. E. W. Stephens. 1922. p. 535. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  18. ^ The Military Engineer. Society of American Military Engineers. 1955. p. 368. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  19. ^ Stark, Erika (March 23, 2016). "Walther says mayoral bid is a response to problems he believes he can solve". Columbia Missourian. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  20. ^ Sanderson, Shane (March 29, 2016). "Booche's Billiards, Hank Waters and Frank Graham to enter Boone County Hall of Fame". Columbia Missourian. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  21. ^ a b Walljasper, Joe (October 14, 2016). ""Norm" draws nostalgic fans to Mizzou Arena". Columbia Daily Tribune. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  22. ^ a b Lewis, Alec (November 8, 2017). "SEC Storied film 'Norm' airs Sunday Night on SEC Network". The Maneater. Retrieved November 8, 2017.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°57′01″N 92°19′39″W / 38.95017°N 92.32741°W / 38.95017; -92.32741