9 Best Places to Play Pool in Metro Phoenix
The year is 2015, and in the age of declining social capital the pool hall is an endangered species. Anti-smoking legislation, smart phones, and the makers of Nintendo Wii have all conspired to wreak havoc on the beer-stained gambling dens of yore. But for those of us who still prefer the analog experience and happen to live in the Valley, there is hope. What follows is not only a list of the best dedicated billiards venues, but one or two of our favorite bars where the pool tables are a truly integral part of the landscape.
Mill Cue Club
There was no way that Mill Cue Club was not going to make the cut. The demographics are predictably younger than some of the other pool spots, but that’s okay. Mill Cue is also distinct in that it presents more opportunities for people-watching outside the venue than from within. While it has no shortage of amenities, as far as pool halls go this is one is perhaps more for the casual player rather than the dedicated enthusiast. Simply put, you will wind up here at some point. Hourly rates range from $5 to $12 an hour. See www.millcueclub.com.
The world's nicest quarter tables at Lucky Break
Despite its name, Lucky Break (formerly Scully’s) is not a pool hall. Rather, it is a sports bar with pool tables. But to qualify that caveat, they are nice, well-maintained pool tables adorned with red felt. In fact, everything in Lucky Break is pretty nice, perhaps nicer than your traditional pool hall goers may have come to expect. If you can successfully orient yourself to the luxurious surroundings, come to watch the game as well as engage in your favorite game of skill. There are only quarter tables, and it's $1 per game. See www.luckybreakaz.com for details.
Main Street Billiards
Main street Billiards in Mesa has something of a community feel, much like the skating rink or bowling alley of your childhood. Ample amenities and predictably well kept tables, but cue rental is extra. With its fenced off "players area" the pool clearly takes center stage here. Quarter tables are 75 cents a game, and full-size tables are $3 an hour. Cue rental costs $1 plus a deposit. See more at www.mesabilliards.com.
Kolby’s Corner Pocket Billiards
Kolby's Corner is usually packed, and as 2003 and 2008 winner of the Phoenix New Times's prestigious "Best Pool Hall" award, it is only fitting. There's a full kitchen, along with the latest craft brews on tap from Arizona and beyond. Quarter tables are available, and there are very reasonable hourly rates on full-size tables. Find more info at www.kolbys.net.
Two words: free tables. Unlike some of the other outposts around the Valley, the Mesa location of Cornish Pasty is less like your typical British boozer and more closely resembles something you would find in gentrified East London. Shoegaze to a Manchester-circa-1990 soundtrack of Joy Division and the Smiths while guys and girls decked out in black serve up authentically English (read: 20-ounce) pints. Nice sized tables in a living room setting are £0 a game. Visit www.cornishpastyco.com.
Breakroom Bar & Grill
Maybe it's the neon signs advertising Jell-O shots and cheap pitchers, but something about the Breakroom seems to whisper mischievously Hey buddy, let's have a drink. Truly, was ever a more perfect union conceived than that of billiards and alcohol? The Breakroom has quarter tables only for 50 per game. See www.breakroombarandgrill.com.
The game's elite immortalized on the walls of Q & Brew.
Q & Brew
If the pool hall as we once knew it is considered by many to be all but extinct, then one might liken Q & Brew to Jurassic Park. There are quarter/bar tables, as well as larger tables for the skilled and/or shameless. There is beer and liquor, potato chips, and peanuts. There are retirees who bring their own cues and hang out here all day. That’s it. As a mathematical formula, this can be represented as (booze + tables + old dudes) = pool hall. Quarter tables are 50 cents, while full-size tables are $3 for unlimited play. Call 480-968-3722.
Yes, this is perhaps the most unlikely inclusion on the list. But what Bikini Lounge lacks in number of tables, it makes up for in personality. Come to pre-game before checking out an all-ages show at the Trunk Space next door. If you hang out long enough, your beer may start to appear in incrementally larger glasses, as if by magic. And if the staff like you, they might even give you money for the jukebox. There's one table, and it's 25 cents a game. See www.thebikinilounge.com.
If you're scared of clowns, do yourself a favor and don’t look above the bar. Jester’s attracts guests of all ages, and has served as the backdrop for many Gilbert and Mesa residents’ misspent youth. But once one comes of age, Jester’s truly shines. With 20 taps and over 100 bottles in the fridge, Jester’s has a craft beer selection to rival many destination beer bars in the Valley. Quarter tables are 50 cents a day, as well as variable hourly and unlimited rates on 9-foot tables depending on party size. Find details at www.jestersbilliards.com.
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