By Natalie Kuchik
If you’re looking to go out and have fun in the city without spending a lot, consider grabbing a couple of friends to check out a pool hall in Chicago. Pool halls are great places to meet people and socialize without having to dress up in your weekend’s finest. Some of the best pool halls in Chicago even have tournaments for those who have the skills to play for money. Whether you are a serious billiards aficionado or casual pool player, somewhere in the city of Chicago lies your relaxing nightly retreat.
Southport Lanes & Billiards
3325 N Southport Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
Located in Lakeview, Southport Lanes & Billiards is a place to play pool for people who don’t mind the noise of a loud and sometimes rowdy crowd. Since there are only a handful of pool tables, this Chicago pool hall does take reservations up to a week in advance. You can reserve up to two pool tables at a time, and each table reservation costs $15 an hour. The bar also has a coin-operated table for those looking to play just one game. Patrons won’t only find pool tables throughout Southport, but also a ping pong table, bowling lanes, beer and mixed drinks and a jukebox.
4637 N Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60630
If you are looking for the best pool hall in Chicago to practice your skills, check out Chris’s Billiards. Located in Portage Park, Chris’s Billiards has more than 40 full-sized billiard tables that are perfect for those wanting to play a game of pool or practice their craft alone. If you have ever seen or heard of the pool hustler movie, “The Color of Money,” you may want to take a trip to this Chicago pool hall––Martin Scorsese filmed parts of the movie at Chris’s Billiards. If Scorsese’s seal of approval is not good enough for you, go for the low prices and fun tournaments.
Marie’s Golden Cue
3241 W Montrose Ave.
Chicago, IL 60686
This Chicago pool hall has more than 20 tables and plenty of cues and balls for you to rack up. Before you step inside, it is hard not to miss the marquee that sits under the Marie’s Golden Cue sign, which reads, “We have smooth shafts and clean balls.” If you don’t mind some dirty puns with your game of pool, this is your spot. If you’re looking to sip on some beer or cocktails during your game, however, you may want to steer clear, as Marie’s Golden Cue doesn’t allow alcohol. What they do have is affordable prices and great pool tournaments. The bar offers a weekly handicapped 10 ball tournament, which takes place every Monday night. If you are a woman looking to get a few pointers, head out there on a Tuesday night around 7 p.m. when women can join a ladies instructional league for $20.
Pressure Billiards & Cafe
6318 N Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60660
This contemporary Chicago pool hall is located in the Edgewater area of Chicago. The bar offers 13 professional Brunswick Metro pool tables in a casual atmosphere, making it a great place for both serious and recreational pool players alike. During the day you’ll find all ages play, but after 9 p.m. you must be 18 years or older to enter Pressure Billiards & Cafe. If entering the pool hall area, you must play because there is not spectating allowed. Luckily, you never have to worry about missing your favorite sporting event while shooting pool, because the venue has 8 flat-screen TVs lining the wall. If you’re looking to take a break between games, check out the bar area, which has daily drink specials and a full menu.
City Pool Hall
640 W Hubbard St.
Chicago, IL 60610
Chicago’s City Pool Hall has 12 Brunswick Gold Crown IV tables––four 8-foot and four 9-foot long tables. The pool tables here are all spaced so customers do not have to worry about interfering with a game going on at an adjacent table, which is a huge bonus if you’ve ever tried to enjoy a game in a crowded bar. Pool leagues take place Monday through Thursday beginning at 7:30 p.m. and they are continuously forming. At $10––$16 an hour, the price for a pool table may seem a bit steep, but if you don’t mind playing before 4 p.m., the tables are half off. This is one of the best pool halls in Chicago due to the excellent quality of tables, pool leagues and friendly staff.
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Natalie Kuchik is a longtime freelance writer living in Chicago. She enjoys interviewing bands, reviewing concerts, and writing about all things entertainment related. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.