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.