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January 29, 2016

Five great Philly bars for a game of pool

Try your hand at billiards at these watering holes

You can find almost any activity to accompany your drinking nowadays, especially here in Philadelphia; bars across the city offer everything from vintage video games to bowling to skeeball.

Nothing, however, beats a classic game of pool. While the city's scene for traditional pool halls has been changing, you can find countless pubs throughout Philly with at least one or two tables.

Are all bars with pool tables created equal? Of course not. Playing pool at a bar isn't just about the game. The atmosphere, the likelihood of getting on a table without waiting for two hours, the drinks you'll be sipping on while playing and more all factor into the experience.

Here are five pool bars for everyone from the seasoned billiards player to the casual drinker looking for some fun:

El Bar

1356 N. Front St.

This well-known hipster paradise has one table with a tricky handicap: Shots from the corner near the stage side of the bar mean your elbow will likely sneak up against or between seated patrons. It can be annoying but also proves to be an interesting challenge, both for your pool and social skills. Besides, the line to get on the table moves quickly, and a few $4 Citywide specials will help you forget your poor play.

Brownie's Irish Pub

46 S. 2nd St.

Brownies Irish Pub pool tables
Their table is separated from the main bar in an upstairs section, which means you and your friends have access to your own, private jukebox to pick the soundtrack to your game. There's plenty of room for your arms to shoot. Plus, if the nostalgic image of smoke-filled pool halls is what you’re looking for, Brownie's allows smoking. If that's not your thing, you probably want to steer clear.

Tops Bar

259 S. 15th St.

Tops Bar/Facebook

Patrons playing pool at Tops Bar.

Disclaimer: Tops is the late-night incarnation of McGlinchey's, which means it's only open from 7:30 p.m. till close from Wednesday through Saturday. Aptly named Tops, as it is literally on top of its sister bar, this dive has plenty of open space surrounding the table and incredibly cheap drinks; domestic bottles cost a little more than $2. It's often filled with drifters, happily solitary drinkers and characters all ready for a game.

Tattooed Mom

530 South St.

Tattooed Mom/Facebook

Pool tables on the second floor of Tattooed Mom.

Alongside the bro-tastic party bars of South Street lies Tattooed Mom, a delightfully weird haven for pool playing and more. It has two tables upstairs, and players can gaze at the mishmash of art that splatters the walls. Grab a cocoa loco (a hot cocoa cocktail) and relieve yourself from the scores of tourists with a game here.

Green Room

1940 Green St.

The Green Room/Facebook

The Green Room.

I've highlighted Green Room before and for good reason. Along with its two tables, patrons can enjoy foosball, darts and beer pong. The tables are usually pretty crowded, and players range from borderline sharks to the admittedly inept. This makes for a fun gamble before calling the next game: Am I about to kick some butt or get my own butt handed to me?