The clatter of pool balls melds with the cheering from sports fans at Skip & Jan's Sports Bar, where 24 pool tables tempt those not busy watching the game on one of 20 flat-screen televisions. During time-outs, patrons nibble on tavern fare, such as potato skins, third-pound burgers, and tuna melts. The bar’s wings, which are served with nine different sauces, earned the eatery a feature in the Arizona Republic as one of the area’s 20 best places for wings not including a chicken farm.
Mill Cue Club boasts 10 pool tables, a friendly staff, and a wide selection of conversation-inducing drinks, making it ASU’s unofficial pool hall and an ideal destination for cue-based leisure. Round up three other billiard sharks for two hours at a table, where you can hold a standard doubles match, a trash-talk-heavy tournament, or a 120-minute trick-shot contest to make use of a new pyrotechnic rig. On-tap beers with nametags such as Guinness and Four Peaks Brewery lubricate rusty tongues and prepare them for top-shelf shots of tequila, whiskey, and vodka, perfect for toasting slices of perfectly toasted toast. An outdoor smoking patio provides a venue for menthol-based bonding, and multiple flat-screen TVs make it easy for players to check scores or yogurt-commercial trends.
Lucky Break takes its fun and games very seriously. Between games of pool played on the six hardwood billiard tables, players bite into half-pound burgers topped with eclectic ingredients, such as spicy peppers, brie, and avocado slices. The burgers join a lengthy menu of classic grill fare, including massive grilled-cheese sandwiches, fish tacos, and regulation-size buffalo chicken sliders for use in edible games of table hockey. To wash down eats, bartenders kick open the kegs connected to 24 taps and pour beers that diners hoist in triumph for each home-team win, as viewed on 14 wall-mounted flat-screen TVs and six mammoth viewing stations.
Until 2 in the morning, the sounds of billiard balls hang like offbeat commas in the conversations of players leaning on their cues. Of the 18 tables at Pockets Pool & Pub, 10 are regulation Brunswick Gold Crown pocket tables, 6 are coin-operated, and 2 are Spider Elite Carom tables, which are heated to keep balls moving smoothly. Like deserted kangaroo towns, carom tables have no pockets—the game is played based on one’s position against the rails. Every week, the tables host nine-ball, pool, and one-pocket competitions.
The thin, twanging guitar notes of songs from the ’40s drift from a jukebox near the pro shop, which furnishes players with gear. Elsewhere, backgammon pieces and dice click against boards sliced by the characteristic triangles, and players hoist glasses of brews and cocktails over plates of sandwiches and fried snacks.
Many sports bars are judged on the size of their televisions. Too few are evaluated by the number of side-by-side stock-car and motorcycle drag races that happen on their premises. At World Sports Grille, there are both. More than 30 high-definition TVs—including one with a 103-inch display—broadcast sharp resolution of sports heroes’ graceful moves and sports anchors’ autograph-covered toupees, and nearly 75 racing, action, and other gaming consoles pit players into virtual battle. In the game room, TVs and videogames join forces, with sounds of cracking baseball bats and crunching football pads mingling with bells, whistles, and engine throttling. This mixture of athletic entertainment and interactive play powers part of the formula that launched World Sports Grille to the top of Tucson Weekly's list of Best Sports Bars for four straight years (2009–2012).
The menu of classic bar food and snacks has also snagged accolades: half-pound Angus burgers capped with brioche buns have taken home the Great Tucson Hamburger Contest title. Guests can sample the winning burgers—such as the barbecue bacon smothered with a tangy house-made, beer-flavored sauce—while sidled up to the square bar under autographed jerseys and memorabilia, or while out on the patio next to fragrant coriander or cacti plants guarding the restaurant from balloon invasion. World Sports Grille also partners with the Tucson Padres for events, and UFC fights have drawn standing-room-only crowds.
Bowling is the great social equalizer—a common ground where grizzled undercover clowns, blue-collar English lords, LARPer librarians, big and tall lingerie models, hordes of hive-minded hipsters, and the other two social demographics that comprise America can unite in common cause and topple a gaggle of stuck-up, inanimate wooden pins. Brunswick has been a household name in this egalitarian pastime almost since the beginning, with a company history that dates back to the 19th century, providing classic American good times to all manner of patrons across the country. And with today's Groupon tying the room together, you'll get to play two games (up to a $10 value) in its hallowed halls wearing a pair of freshly disinfected bowling shoes (up to a $4.39 value).