WILLIAMSBURG — The Corner Pocket has been a cornerstone of the community since it first opened in 1992. As of August, it is under new ownership after Lynn Allison sold the business to Rebecca Piner.
Piner is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, wirth a background in journalism, public relations and sports and entertainment. She also attended graduate school for Sports and Entertainment, and worked for the University of South Carolina for 5 years. During that time she worked in the athletics department in marketing, as well as teaching sports and entertainment marketing.
Throughout, she worked as a server and bartender.
Piner later moved to VCU as the head of marketing in the athletics department, where she stayed for three years. Dissatisfied with the work/life balance offered to her in the position, she decided to venture out for herself.
“I decided if I was going to work that much I wanted to do it for myself,” Piner recalled. “I just thought about all of the things I loved about my job. The community, I loved that sports brought people together, all of those things, and I love serving people. So I kind of decided that I wanted to open my own restaurant with those things in mind, bringing people together, community, all of those things.”
Rather than building a business from the ground up, Piner decided to look for places that were for sale. The Corner Pocket already had a reputation for blending a pool hall and a food establishment to create a warm atmosphere of enjoyment, as well as for live music. Allison had owned the business for 30 years and was looking at retirement, and it checked all of the boxes for Piner.
“Pool brings people together. Whether you’re just meeting friends for a couple of rounds or league nights. There is also the sports aspect with the TVs, but it’s good food and good drinks, so it made sense for me to just buy something and just build on it rather than try and build something from the ground up when I hadn’t been in the management of restaurants before,” Piner explained.
Piner has already been working hard to build on the foundation Allison passed on to her. The Corner Pocket has recently updated its menus, keeping many of the staples and adding some new items. The pool tables have all been recently redone and are ideal for serious players. Dartboards are being added along the back wall and a fresh coat of paint has been added.
Next summer Piner even hopes to update the patio space to create a hang-out area with a fire pit and outdoor couches.
It is also important to Piner to support other small businesses. As a result, with the exception of Guinness and Bud Light, all the beers are Virginia craft beers — six rotating brews.
“I want to try to highlight as many Virginia beers as we can so they’re constantly rotating. Several of our products, like our bread, are all from a Virginia-based bakery. So it’s important to me that we’re about community — whether that’s having a Christmas party here and making it a really great experience for company, or supporting another local business community is incredibly important to me and how I want to operate things. It’s probably the most important thing to me.”
To learn more about The Corner Pocket, from the offerings, events, and rental prices, check out its official website.