At some point, just about everyone has played pool. Whether it’s a game of 9 ball at a friend’s house, 8 ball at a local watering hole or a more serious game of “straight pool” at a real pool hall, there’s a game suited to your level of skill. A bit of skill and a bit of luck can put even a novice player on a memorable run. Here are some places to find a game that suits your skill level and taste.
Peabody’s Billiards And Games
15333 Amberly Drive
Tampa, FL 33647
Pool is certainly an attraction at Peabody’s, but it’s just part of this full-service entertainment complex. Dozens of TVs bring your favorite sporting events to life, four full liquor bars make sure you can whet your whistle and 11 professional pool tables make Peabody’s perfect for a solo outing or a group invasion. If pool isn’t what someone in your group is looking for, weekly poker tournaments can satisfy the longing for card-based action. Peabody’s is conveniently located in the south end of New Tampa, just off Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.
Barley’s Billiards And Grille
9505 Anderson Road
Tampa, FL 33634
If your idea of a pool hall is lots of smoke, a jukebox that hasn’t been updated since the disco era and stale beer nuts, Barley’s will be a big change of pace. Located in the Citrus Park district just off the Veteran’s Expressway, Barley’s bills itself as having an “upscale” atmosphere. With a half-dozen competition-quality tables, Barley’s offers a number of specials, including “Customer Appreciation Sunday” where you can rent a table for $4 per hour. The best deal of all may be the lunch special that includes two hours of free pool with your lunch order. Just make sure you wash the chalk off your hands before you go back to work.
615 Channelside Drive
Tampa, FL 33602
Located in the heart of Tampa’s Channelside district, Splitsville carved out a unique niche with its upscale take on the usually casual sport of bowling. The same cultural clash applies to pool. Splitsville’s dress code and its 21-and-up policy after 10 p.m. help to keep the classier atmosphere intact. It’s not the kind of place where you’d be tempted to bump the table to make the 8 ball fall in from the ledge, but if you enjoy pool (and bowling) and also like having an excuse to dress up a bit more than usual, Splitsville offers both. Note that Splitsville is closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Related: Tampa’s Best Bowling Alleys
5412 Main St.
New Port Richey, FL 34652
Sharky’s is a place that proudly advertises that it will be open on most holidays. Located in heart of New Port Richey, Sharky’s still allows smoking but new owners have installed a new high-efficiency smoke filter to make the atmosphere more pleasant for everyone. The tables have also been re-covered. Along with open play, Sharky’s offers a weekly 8 ball tournament, a weekly veteran’s tournament and there’s even a free weekly dart tournament. The pool comes first at Sharky’s and for some of us, that’s what really matters.
The Corner Pocket
12686 Starkey Road
Largo, FL 33773
Located deep in the heart of beautiful downtown Largo, The Corner Pocket is another establishment where pool is the main attraction. Weekly 8 ball tournaments and leagues set up for various skill levels are just some of the ways The Corner Pocket crew invites everyone to come in. For the non-pool player, there’s a cash bingo game and plenty of drink specials from the full liquor bar. If that’s not enough, how about a Friday night special where ladies play for free after 9 p.m.?
Related: Best Bars With History In Tampa Bay
Mike Hennessy is a veteran news man who has won Florida AP awards for feature reporting and covered almost every kind of story imaginable from on-the-scene coverage of Hurricane Andrew, to some of the highest profile murder and corruption trials in Florida history. Mike is versatile and has the curiosity it takes to get to the bottom line of any story. His work can be found at Examiner.com.