Pool Halls in Monterey

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Although Easy Street Billiards welcomes players of all skill levels, its 12 Rebco tables?built from solid cherry with leather pockets?have attracted many legends of the game. Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famers Mike Massey and Nick Varner have both practiced and taken naps on Easy Street?s emerald surfaces, each one blanketed in wool cloth under its own light. During games, players can take advantage of the venue?s Lucasi house cues; two pieces of maple adjoined by a steel screw.

In addition to pool, visitors can play darts and shuffleboard or catch a game on one of six flat-panel TVs. A mahogany bar constructed in the 1880s invites patrons to sidle up and order domestic and import beers or pub fare.

511 Tyler St
Monterey,
CA
US

In the main room of Surf City Billiards & Cafe, sun pours through skylights in the 22-foot vaulted ceilings, illuminated 15 Brunswick Gold Crown tables covered in pro-standard Simonis cloth. Darts and a shuffleboard table provide additional opportunities for competition, whereas eight big-screen TVs let fans cheer for their favorite commercials between interruptions by men throwing balls. The hall's full bar keeps spirits high with local wine and beer, and a bustling kitchen turns out gourmet takes on traditional bar food. Applewood-smoked bacon gives third-pound Angus-beef patties a porcine kick, and the Surf City dog adorns a quarter-pound 100% beef frank with zesty chipotle mayo.

The billiards hall was named one of the Top 10 New Pool Halls in America in 2008.

931 Pacific Ave.
Santa Cruz,
CA
US

Picture a pool hall. Wood-paneled walls catch the light of suspended billiards lamps, which illuminate clusters of tables—19 of them to be exact. And these tables are not kiddie sized or Astroturf topped; these are regulation tables: fit for aimless amateurs and seasoned professionals alike. This is Fast Eddy's Billiards, where fun-seekers can revel not only in friendly and competitive games of pool, but also at dartboards, foosball tables, pinball machines, and beer-pong setups.

A former billiards professional still hangs around this scene, giving newbies a crash course on the basics of pool play. Above the din, neon signs rattle off the names of domestic and imported beers—available by the glass and by the pitcher—and a kitchen attendant preps bar-style snacks such as jalapeño poppers, onion rings, chicken wings, and breaded zucchini strips. Free WiFi can occupy compulsive email senders, and an Internet jukebox keeps carousers bopping with tunes of choice.

4300 Capitola Rd
Capitola,
CA
US

For 80 years, the casual Courts Lounge has been slinging drafts, bottles, and mixed drinks and entertaining folks. Over the years, the staff has added 13 flat-screen TVs, free WiFi, an Internet jukebox, MegaTouch games, and karaoke to its roster of things to do while socializing. Of course, patrons can still relax with old-school bar games, including pool and darts.

2425 S Bascom Ave.
Campbell,
CA
US

Cuetopia Billiard Cafe offers a haven from 9-to-5 grinds and with frosty beers and friendly games of foosball, darts, and pool. Beef hot dogs and polish sausages steamed in beer and served on freshly made Roma Bakery rolls deliver a taste of Chicago as satellite sports packages stream on a big-screen TV. While guests enjoy more than 40 different brands of beer, the crack of professional-grade balls reverberates across the felt of 25 Brunswick tables.

4700 Almaden Expy
San Jose,
CA
US

At this all-ages venue, eight-balls sink into upwards of 165 pockets inside South First Billiards, which houses nearly 30 9-foot pool tables. But they only take up a fraction of South First's 14,000-square-feet: the rest plays host to ping-pong and beer-pong tables, as well as foosball and air hockey. Despite the potpourri of games, South First isn't just a gaming venue. Rotating pieces by local artists adorn the walls, while an eclectic lineup of musicians, from rockers to rappers, grace the stage on live music nights. South First's bartenders complement any activity?whether playing, looking, or listening?with 12 microbrews on tap, as well as fruity and chocolaty handcrafted cocktails.

420 S 1st St.
San Jose,
CA
US