Ballin’ on a budget: best BK pool halls

Gotham City Billiards - Photos by Patrick Egan

Mother Nature, with her relentless elements, has stricken the outdoors from the list of affordable recreation. If you want to hang with homies or flirt, you’ll need to do so indoors. What better time to call for the resurgence of pool, marginalized lately by Ping-Pong’s comeback? BK’s halls run about half the cost of Manhattan’s (with better drinks prices). It’s cheaper than a movie and counts as precious screen-free time. Here’s a look at Brooklyn’s offerings:

(Note: Rates quoted are for two people. Most halls charged an extra $2 per hour for each additional person, with a limit at six people per table.)

Grand Street Billiards

Grand Billiards & Café, 750 Grand St., Williamsburg, 646-610-1212

If Williamsburg is Brooklyn’s haven for the young and the relentless, then Grand Billiards is a pool hall tailored to its people. Open until 4 a.m., this spot provides a balance between the requisite sports culture and nightlife. Billiards art winds its way around the walls and strategically placed TVs broadcast the ballgame of the moment. A thumping sound system keeps a dance floor moving. Early birds can snag a free hour of play by buying one before 7 p.m.

Table for Two: $8 per hour
Tables: 24
Libations: Cans are $3, bottles $4, plus a full bar.
Food: Four fried items, but restaurants dot the busy strip.

Gotham City Billiards, 93 Avenue U (N to Ave U, D to 25th Ave), Bensonhurst/Gravesend, 718-714-1002

A hand-carved, Italian table with webbed pockets signals to the uninitiated they have entered a players’ pool hall. The owners re-felt the sixteen tables twice a year in a vibrant blue. Shooters can keep score the old-fashioned way, with custom-made scoring beads that hang in front of movie art from The Hustler and The Color of Money. Gotham City exudes an element of class. And this being Bensonhurst, it’s the only place where you can get an espresso while you’re playing.

Table for Two: $10 per hour weeknights, $13 on weekends, daytime discounts. Tuesdays, women play free; 9/11 responders and the military get a deal on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Tables: 16
Libations: Liquor license application is in process.
Food: A full array of ready-to-eat snacks, from chips and energy bars to Corn Pops and hot-and-spicy microwavable noodles. There’s also a slice joint just down the block.

Hall of Fame billards

Hall of Fame Billiards, 505 Ovington Ave. (R to Bay Ridge Ave), Bay Ridge, 718-921-2694

Hall of Fame is not your sexiest pool hall. In fact, it’s closer to a rec center. It’s got a handful of Ping-Pong tables and foosball. The lighting isn’t alluring so much as drab. The 70s-era carpeting seems to shroud any brightness. The pure girth of Hall of Fame’s operation does compensate for some of its lacking curb appeal, so we say shame on those who can’t recreate within these walls.

Table for Two: $10 per hour weeknights, $12 on weekends, daytime discounts of $2 off per hour.
Tables: 42
Libations: It’s dry, but Killarney Pub is a few doors down.
Food: Just vending machines.

Ocean's 8 billiardsOcean’s 8 @ Brownstone Billiards, 308 Flatbush Ave. at 7th Avenue, Park Slope, 718-857-5555

If you shot your fist game of pool in a basement, Ocean’s 8 may bring back those memories. It’s an enormous windowless underground lair showing its share of basement wear and tear with mismatched furniture scattered about. But the Park Slope venue partly makes up for its lack of charm with its overwhelming game options, including air hockey, Ping-Pong and two peculiar mini bowling lanes.

Table for Two: $12 per hour
Tables: 30
Libations: A $3 pint is usually offered. Check their Facebook page for frequent specials.
Food: Pub grub — chili, buffalo wings, burgers, cheesesteak, all under $10.

Risque Billiards & Cafe

Risque business

Risque Billiards & Cafe (previously La Cue), 213 McGuinness Blvd., Greenpoint, (718) 349-1445

This hall has stood for 18 years in this industrial neighborhood. The owner says he knows his customers, and those customers must appreciate the Friday night drink special: from 9–10 p.m., it’s all you can drink for $15, a deal you won’t see too often in this city. Leather loungers and a sofa offer a place for relaxation after the booze rush.

Table for Two: $11.90 per hour
Tables: 8
Libations: $4.75 for a bottle of Bud, but draft will flow from new taps in just days
Food: The taps came with a cost: no food. Fast food can be found across the street.

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