Whether settling a pool-hall bet or the question of who can finish a burger the fastest, gamers have been fueling their competitive spirits at Jillian’s of Chesapeake for more than 20 years. Balls tumble down nine lanes toward clusters of pins in the bowling alley, while players at the billiard hall’s 10 tables psyche out pool sharks by reenacting the ending to Jaws. Elsewhere, joysticks and racing wheels test hand-eye coordination on the arcade’s more than 100 video games. In between each frame, shot, or level, players can reenergize with salads, burgers, and flatbreads at the restaurant while catching up-to-the-minute sports and highlights. The facility’s private rooms and semi-private lounges further accommodate feasting guests, with bites from Jillian’s of Chesapeake’s catering menus keeping them pleasantly sated throughout their soiree.
Good aim is an important attribute at Longshots Billiards & Darts. Here, competitors slide victory into their cross hairs while sinking shots on 17 pool tables and pegging bulls-eye's on 14 dartboards. Between match-ups, friends can call a truce and set their sights on sandwiches, wraps, and baskets of savory snacks, as well as drinks from two different bars. Certain nights throughout the week also feature additional activities?such as corn hole and karaoke?and separate smoking and nonsmoking sections ensure everyone is as comfortable as an introvert who just found a nice, quiet closet at a party.
There's a clear star at Red Dog Saloon?its face plastered everywhere on the walls and even on the restaurant's sign itself. The saloon's cartoon bulldog mascot greets visitors, though its stern face is not nearly as welcoming as what waits at the bar?tap after tap of draft beer.
The drinks pair with bar-food favorites such as loaded nachos and pizza. Weekends, meanwhile, line up a breakfast and brunch board of fare that encompasses waffles and country-style eggs benedicts with home fries. Red Dog Saloon keeps patrons entertained after they eat with pool tables and lots of TVs, which show sports such as professional football, college football, professional baseball and kindergarten quidditch.
Since 1971, players inside the more than 25,000-square-foot Q-Master Billiards have lined up breaks and winning eight-ball shots on more than 70 billiards tables. The brainchild of Barry Behrman, who founded the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships in 1976, Q-Master hosts its own 9-ball tournaments every Wednesday and Sunday. The pool hall's retail shop can even equip patrons with new cues—plus gear like gloves and training aids—before tournaments, hourly table rentals, or league games Monday through Thursday.
If games leave you parched, bartenders manning Q-Master's two bars serve up beers, cocktails, and shooters like the Swedish Fish—a blend of blackberry schnapps, triple sec, and cranberry. Those beverages complement Q-Master's inventive menu, which boasts quesadillas filled with pizza fixings, and chargrilled burgers topped with bacon, a chicken tender, and a fried egg whose dreams of becoming a cue ball sadly never came to fruition.
The weathered sign outside reads "99 Beers & Ales," directing visitors toward The Weekend Pub's beer list, which overflows with domestic and imported brews. Inside, pint glasses fill with an earth-toned rainbow of suds hailing from Ireland, Scotland, Africa, the Philippines, and France. Hands wrap around familiar bottles from St. George and Celis or slowly count off syllables when writing haikus about Weihenstephaner kristall. Glasses lift against the steady beat of clattering plates, laden with a menu of shaved-steak sandwiches and sirloin burgers crowned in Guinness-based sauce. As eyelids sink contentedly to half-mast, patrons toss beanbags or darts at their respective target in contests of eye-hand coordination. Some evenings, teams compete to correctly answer trivia questions in exchange for prizes and the right to high-five each other every hour on the hour. The sounds of acoustic guitars and tremulous vocals waft through the air during open-mike nights and live musical acts on the weekends.
For 25 years, the walls of Pockets Billiards have echoed with the sounds of pool balls clacking. The cavernous space is home to six Brunswick 9-foot pool tables and three Valley 7-foot pool tables, any of which can be rented by the hour or for a block of four hours with a game pass. And you'll likely want to stay as long as you can; everything here is vintage pool hall, from the vending machines to the ghost of Jackie Gleason hustling newcomers. Outside food and drink is allowed, with several local restaurants providing delivery service directly to the pool hall. Kids under 12 can play free all day as well as birthday revelers with a valid photo ID. There's even a small pro shop with game room accessories and professional pool cues and cases available for purchase from brands such as Predator, Meucci, Schon, Lucasi, McDermott, and more.