Danny K's Billiards & Sports Bar
Danny K's Billiards & Sports Bar

Former billiards champ Danny Kuykendall used his PhD in psychology, combined with hard work and passion, to build Danny K’s Billiards & Sports Bar into the premier billiards parlor in Orange County.

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Danny K’s Billiards & Sports Bar

Having a passion and sticking with it is what Danny K’s Billiards and Sports Bar owner Danny Kuykendall considers the secret to his success.  Open since 1994, the building that was once a Gold’s Gym has become the premier billiards parlor in Orange County, and a staple in Orange.

Kuykendall’s passion for billiards began in childhood.  At 19, he knew he wanted to one day open a billiards parlor.  During college, he was a top competitor in tournaments, while also selling billiard’s supplies.  By the early 1990s, Danny was looking for a location he could call his own. Before long, he founded Danny K’s.

“We wanted a really nice place and had to borrow all kinds of money to open,” recalls Kuykendall.  “We were bouncing checks and struggling but managed to cover everything.”

They initially only served beer and wine.  “Once we got a liquor license, business picked up 20 percent,” he recalls.

After a challenging first few years, Kuykendall had turned Danny K’s into a success.  In addition to the locals, people come from a distance, especially to play pool.  There are 19 pool tables and 45 televisions to watch sports.

“We started with 25 pool tables but as sports became more popular, we made more room for seating,” says Kuykendall.  “Pool popularity goes through cycles.  Every seven years there’s a dip, and then another seven years, there’s a high point.  Right now, pool is popular.”

There is plenty to do at Danny K’s besides pool and sports, with darts, shuffleboard and trivia nights.

Sharon Pegram has been coming to Danny K’s since it opened.  “I worked in the area and started going for lunch,” she recalls.  “Then I started going for happy hour.  I was single back then, and it was a place I could go and watch football and feel safe.  The environment was very welcoming, and the people were friendly.  I even met my husband there, and we’ve been together for 23 years.”

Kuykendall is preparing to sell Danny K’s and has chronicled his adventures in a book he wrote called Open Bar.  “I felt like it was an interesting story, especially the struggles in the beginning, and I hope that people will get something out of it,” he says.

With a PhD in psychology and decades of experience as an entrepreneur, Kuykendall is considering a future consulting for small business owners.  “I was taught that the main thing in psychology is just to learn to be happy,” he says.  “We train our employees to be happy. That’s all I want from them—to be happy and serve the customers, which ends up creating a happy place.”

Danny K’s Billiards & Sports Bar
1096 North Main St., Orange CA 92867  /  714-397-2816

Article Published in the
Jan / Feb 23 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review
Written by Sheri Ledbetter Photo by Kristin Smetona
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