Hanson's is a traditional laid-back neighborhood bar and restaurant at the north end of Old South Pearl, convenient to both the Platt Park and Wash Park neighborhoods. Two bar-size pool tables wait upstairs for Hanson patrons and they're free all day every day–what could be better than that? Maybe the fact that on Tuesdays and Wednesdays happy hour runs from 11 a.m. to midnight or on Sunday nights from 5 to 10 p.m. kids 12 and younger eat free. There's a back patio to enjoy in warm weather, and Hanson's has its own (small) parking lot off a street where parking doesn't come easy. Don't miss the excellent house-made pork green chili.
Recommended for Billiards because: Hanson's is a friendly neighborhood tavern with two free pool tables and daily deals.
Christine's expert tip: Monday and Tuesdays are $4 burger nights, from 5 to 10 p.m. and Hanson's burgers are delish.
If you love Cajun food, blues, rockabilly and pool, this is your place. No frills, down-and-dirty-but-oh-so-friendly Lincoln's Roadhouse puts it all together in between the Wash Park and Platt Park neighborhoods, right off of I-25. You can play on the two pool tables for a highly affordable 75 cents a game, a nice match for the also highly affordable drinks and food. It's not quite Louisiana, but if you've been craving Cajun classics, the jambalaya will suffice nicely. Locals in the know have honored Lincoln's Roadhouse over the years with good reason. It was voted Best Dive Bar in 2009 by 5280 and Best Blues Club by Westword in 2011. And there's pool....
Recommended for Billiards because: This is the place where pool meets Cajun food and live music you want to listen to.
Christine's expert tip: Pool leagues play on Tuesdays and Thursdays so avoid those days if you want the tables to yourselves.
Punch Bowl Social is the place for a group of friends who like lots of games. There's just one pool table but there's also bowling, ping pong, darts, bocce, corn hole, foosball, marbles, vintage arcade and pinball games and giant magnetic wall scrabble. Did we mention the private karaoke room? The cost for pool is $10 per hour, except during Monday Game Night. If you want to bring the kids in to play some of your fave old-school games, do it on the weekend when Punch Bowl Social opens at 8 a.m. and serves up brunch. There's plenty to love on the menu every other day and night, too. Note: Take a look at the "punch bowl graveyard" above the bar, where all the vintage punch bowls go to die–or at least to be displayed.
Recommended for Billiards because: Punch Bowl Social is all about good times and good games, including pool.
Christine's expert tip: Starting at 9 p.m. for Monday Game Night, the pool table is free and bowling is just $5 per hour including shoes.
Pints is a traditional British pub with two bar-size billiard tables on the main floor right in the middle of all the pub action. Tables are played using a $1 token per game. There's a ton of British memorabilia on the walls to remind patrons that this is a traditional UK pub in many ways, but Pint's is very much a local watering hole, too. It's known for its authentic cask-conditioned or "live" ales, and it claims to have the largest single malt Scotch and whiskey selection outside of Britain. Lamb stew, fish & chips, fries (chips) sprinkled with vinegar and salt and trifle bring a taste of Britain to the menu that also includes burgers, salmon, salads and sandwiches.
Recommended for Billiards because: Pints combines its bar-style billiards with an inviting British vibe, decor and menu.
Christine's expert tip: Sign up in advance for one of Pints' periodic tasting events (reservations required).
This Czech-owned sports bar has a European vibe and generous selection of Czech beers. Patrons come to play pool on three tables, which are free with a purchase until 6 p.m. and 75 cents a game after, or to challenge themselves at Pac-Man, trivia and karaoke. You can catch an Avalanche game for sure, but soccer is front and center. The bar televises the UEFA games–European football, that is, especially Czech matches. The time difference isn't an issue: Sobo 151 opens at 7 a.m. on game day if necessary. Happy hour runs weekdays 3 to 6 p.m., plus Wednesdays from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. What goes with Czech beer? European faves such as potato pancakes, schnitzel, chicken paprika and beef goulash, and the kitchen also serves up traditional U.S. pub staples including chili, hamburgers and wings.
Recommended for Billiards because: Sobo 151 is proof that pool goes just as well with Czech bites and brews as it does with British and American eats and drinks.
Christine's expert tip: Love karaoke? Join the karaoke fun at Sobo 151 on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 9:30 p.m.
Skylark has been serving Denver customers since 1943, and it keeps on evolving. Head up to Skylark's Pair O' Dice Poolroom, which Billiards Digest voted one of the nation's top three new poolrooms when it opened in 2006. There are three Brunswick Anniversary billiard tables and two smaller bar tables available for play, though be aware that leagues play at Skylark Lounge on Thursdays. In addition to billiard tables, Skylark features a 22-foot tournament size shuffleboard court, two dartboards and a Rock-Ola Peacock jukebox, along with a lot of vintage artwork and photographs, including a museum-quality poster collection. When you're not playing pool, head downstairs for live music and dancing.
Recommended for Billiards because: Skylark Lounge has five billiard tables, hosts leagues and offers a fun retro vibe with live music, too.
Christine's expert tip: On Sunday afternoons, watch artist Joshua Finley create an elaborate chalkboard listing Skylark's events.
Zanzibar Billiards offers 12 Brunswick Gold Crown billiards tables plus a slew of other fun games to play, including four-person air hockey, shuffleboard and video games. If you buy something to eat or drink, pool is free until 7 p.m. The menu is primarily pub grub with a bit of Mediterranean flair, such as the falafel burger and chicken shish kebab. As is true at its sister billiard hall, Tarantula, happy hour here runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day. On Friday and Saturday evenings pool costs $10 per hour. Zanzibar's daily $5 bar specials sport cool pool names like the Hustler, the 8-Ball, the Corner Pocket, the Break and the Trick Shot.
Recommended for Billiards because: Zanzibar's 12 Brunswick Gold Crown billiards tables make it a go-to place to play pool.
Christine's expert tip: Zanzibar is for ages 21 & older only and with ID
Felt, as its name suggests, is very much about billiards. It has more than 20 tables, both coin op and not, seven to nine feet in length, plus one Snooker table. Leagues play several nights each week. But billiards is not its only draw. Felt sports 13 flatscreen TVs and shows every NFL game every week, so no matter where you come from and which team is your hometown team, you can watch them play here. Felt also has foosball, darts and video games, and features 10 beers on tap. There are also early and late-night happy hours many nights, and Monday is Ladies' Night, when the bar offers $1.50 well drinks and Bud drafts to all women. Felt's eclectic menu features all-day breakfast, Mexican, pizza, salads and more, and it's available for dine-in and take out if you don't have time for a game.
Recommended for Billiards because: Felt focuses on pool but also offers many other options for sports loving patrons.
Christine's expert tip: All ages are welcomed but anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian after 11 p.m.
Back in 1988 when Governor John Hickenlooper was an entrepreneurial beer lover who apparently saw the craft beer movement coming, he and three friends opened Wynkoop Brewing Company, Denver's first craft brewery. Occupying one of the city's oldest buildings, Wynkoop offers three distinct areas. The ground floor is a family-friendly pub-style restaurant with a traditional menu of pub grub and other eclectic favorites. On the lowest level, the Impulse Theater group presents wickedly funny improv to sold-out audiences. And on the upper level are 17 Diamond pool tables, making Wynkoop the largest pool hall in Denver. Also available are two dart lanes, two shuffleboard tables and two foosball tables. If the tables are full, just sit back and enjoy some of Wynkoop's 40-plus styles of beer. Pool is free weekdays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Evenings and weekends it's $3.50 per person, per hour.
Recommended for Billiards because: Wynkoop Brewing is Denver's first craft brewery and still the city of Denver's largest pool hall.
Christine's expert tip: Take a tour of the brewery Tuesday through Saturday at 3 or 4 p.m. No reservation necessary, but arrive early as tours are limited to 20.
Fifteen Brunswick Gold Crown billiard tables provide plenty of opportunity for pool lovers to play here. In addition to the billiard tables, Tarantula also offers Foosball, four-person air hockey, shuffleboard and video games to keep patrons entertained, not to mention some 20 beers on tap. Pool is free during the week. On Fridays and Saturdays, it costs $10 per hour per table from 7 p.m. to close. This is an age 21 and over establishment so don't plan on bringing the kids along. Tarantula's Happy HOUR is somewhat of a misnomer given that it runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and is billed as the "Longest happy hour in the world."
Recommended for Billiards because: Tarantula Billiards Bar & Grill is arguably Denver's top go-to for pool play.
Christine's expert tip: During weekdays, pool is free