At Raxx Pool Room, Sports Bar & Grill, rows of pool tables gleam under bright lights, waiting for the clatter of opening breaks and thuds of 8 balls sinking into called pockets. As expert or novice players line up their cues on the pristine felt, ample space around the tables allows for game attempts at tricky shots or rounds of Hokey Pokey to calm nerves. True to the sports bar's name, pool isn't the only activity here—arcade games, beer-pong matches, dart games, and karaoke performances grant their share of entertainment, as well. At the bar, the lights are a bit dimmer, so guests can relax after games by watching sports on the slate of 18 TVs—plus a 100-inch projector—and pairing wraps and burgers from the grill with a selection of specialty cocktails.
Break Bar & Billiards combines the elements that make a neighborhood bar worth revisiting into an urban adult playground. At the 55-foot bar, bartenders dispense 18 draught beers and a dozen different bottles, while a full kitchen crew whips up a menu of buffalo wings, nachos, and burgers. Between brews, the staff allows patrons to hit the billiards, table tennis, air hockey, and vintage arcade games to decide who will buy the next round or who has to swallow the eight-ball. The 7,000-square-foot space is lined with exposed brick, industrial heating vents, and vaulted ceilings, lending a sophisticated feel to the playground.
Since 1991, countless 8-balls have sunk into the corner pockets of the 15-plus Brunswick Gold Crown III tables at Eastside Billiards & Bar. Amateurs and pool sharks alike line up shots during by-the-hour rounds, games in Eastside’s year-round coed league, or lessons geared toward all ages and skill levels. Other gamesmen and women can whack ping pong balls, test their aim at skeeball, or admire the alphabet’s most valuable letter during games of Golden Tee. Sports also unfold on Eastside’s seven big-screen TVs, which decorate a cocktail lounge where patrons can relax with a choice of 20 beers and more than a dozen specialty cocktails.
Most pool halls evoke the smoky, timeworn atmosphere of a friend’s basement. The Big Kahuna decided to go a more upscale route. Stylish sofas flank a stone fireplace, wrought-iron lamps cast a warm glow over every table, and 11 big-screen TVs broadcast seasonal sporting events from spacious ochre walls. Alongside the hall’s billiards and ping-pong tables, a granite and brick bar furnishes icy sips of Budweiser, Corona, and other domestic brews to the pulsing soundtrack of ceramic orbs exploding apart. The hall’s kitchen stays open until the bar closes to balance libations with a menu of buffalo wings, steak-fajita wraps, and plates of chicken parmesan.
Ranked No. 2 in Billiards Digest's 2010 Best New Room hierarchy, Society Billiards + Bar combines 19 top-grade pool tables with a bar full of favorite tonics. Overhead lights serenely illumine custom-made Diamond tables and their players, capturing the ambiance of a classic pool hall while filtering out the blinding smoke and oldfangled harpsichord music. Dueling duos get two hours to flatten the felt with rousing games of 8-ball, 9-ball, and 18-ball pickup while toasting to improbable shots with a quenching quartet of beers from taps dispensing favorites such as Blue Moon, Stella Artois, and Brooklyn Lager. Society Billiards + Bar remains open until 3 a.m. Sundays–Thursdays and 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, facilitating late-night sipping and cue fencing.