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Though deft at trick shots, Tyler Voorhees doesn't expect beginning pool players to immediately master the game's intricate physics and geometry. So he focuses on fundamentals during his private and small group lessons at Rockford Billiard Cafe, even filming his students so they can review their techniques with video feedback. From there, pupils can join one of the café's leagues, vie for the top spot in a tournament, or just play a pickup round on 1 of 17 tables. An in-house pro shop even stocks more than 150 pool cues for purchase, as well as onsite cue repair services.

Not everything at Rockford Billiard Cafe revolves around its namesake sport. Darts hit bullseyes, royal flushes trump other hands on video poker units, and catchy tunes resound from an online jukebox. To reenergize patrons after long stretches of playing or dancing, cooks serve up classic bar snacks such as buffalo wings, mozzarella sticks, and pizza.

1436 North Main Street
Rockford,
IL
US

The family-owned-and-operated shop brews sumptuous gourmet coffee and espresso while serving a plethora of sweet treats and tasty baked goods. Ordered weekly, Meg's coffee is always fresh and many are certified organic, with tempting roasts such as sugar plum berry, white chocolate mousse, and butter pecan ($1.55–$1.78 per cup). Meg's array of caffeinated concoctions includes blended smoothies, iced coffees, cappuccinos, and chai teas, covering the full range of the caffeine rainbow. Meg's menu features several fresh pastries and light lunches, including the ham and cheddar sandwich or feta-cheese-topped Meg's special salad. Visitors can indulge in a blueberry muffin ($1.97) while melting the icicles off their antlers in front of the fireplace at their Alpine location.

1280 South Alpine Road
Rockford,
IL
US