In the age of declining social capital, the pool hall is an endangered species. Anti-smoking legislation, smartphones, 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.
Breakroom Bar & Grill
4729 East McDowell Road
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 four quarter tables that cost 50 cents per game. The full menu includes cheeky nods to the game like Bank Shot Appetizers, Run the Table Wings, and Scratch Handmade Burgers.
Hambone Sports Bar
903 East Main Street, Mesa
Set along Mesa’s Main Street, you’ll recognize Hambone Sports Bar
from the iconic dapper-pig-holding-a beer neon sign. This place has six pool tables and plenty of room to shoot, and the atmosphere can’t be beat. That atmosphere, however, may be a little hazy, as patrons here are allowed to smoke since the Hambone doesn’t technically have any windows. Though you can’t smoke while shooting (for the felt’s sake), you can puff away as you wait your turn. There's also a full bar, karaoke, and internet jukebox to boot.
515 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
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 a Gilbert or Mesa resident's misspent youth. But once one comes of age, Jester’s Billiards
truly shines. With 20 taps and more than 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 game, and there are variable hourly and unlimited rates on 9-foot tables depending on party size.
Kolby’s Corner Pocket Billiards
1301 East University Drive #112, Tempe
is usually packed, and as a two-time winner of New Times
' "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. Small tables are $3 per hour for one player, and $6 per hour for two or more players. Big tables are $4.25 per hour for one player, $8.50 per hour for two, and $10 for three or more.
1807 East Baseline Road #101, Tempe
Despite its name, Lucky Break
(formerly Scully’s) is not a pool hall. Rather, it's a sports bar with pool tables. But to qualify that caveat, they are solid slate, 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 expect. If you can successfully orient yourself to the luxurious surroundings, come to watch the game, grab a beer from 23 rotating taps, as well as engage in your favorite game of skill. There are only quarter tables, and it's $1 per game, though pool is free Sunday through Tuesday.
Main Street Billiards
1749 West Main Street, Mesa
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 40 pool tables (16 coin-operated and 24 nine-foot tables) clearly takes center stage here. Quarter tables are $1 a game, and full-size tables are rentable by the hour. Cue rental costs $1, or you can bring your own.
Read on for more of metro Phoenix's best pool halls.