For some Bangkokians a game of pool is simply a way to unwind after work, a chance to socialize in an expat bar, or an opportunity to flirt with a pretty local. It doesn’t matter if there’s a slight curve towards the top end, the cloth is a bit eaten up, you have to perform a yoga move to play shots by the pillar, or the fact you keep getting nudged by patrons squeezing past to get to the urinal, it’s just about having a good night out.. Well that isn’t everyone.
Some of us take our pool very seriously and only the finest full size Brunswick tables will suffice. Fortunately Thai’s love their pool, snooker and billiards and there are a several top notch pool halls with competition standard tables and cool, friendly atmospheres where Fast Edie Felsons can practise their spin and swerve shots, or spend the night shooting stick with likeminded players.
Here are some of the best pool halls in Bangkok:
Players (Sukhumvit Road, between sois 12-14
Tucked away just off Sukhumvit Road, close to the Asoke BTS Station, Players has the name and vibe of a serious pool hall. Here you’ll find six 9-foot and three 8-foot competition standard Brunswick tables, costing 240 baht per hour or 20 baht per game (loser pays). There are regular 9-ball tournaments, and customers are treated to free WIFI and a tasty food and drink menu, with an outdoor patio for smokers.
Hustlers (Times Square)
In the basement of the Times Square building on Sukhumvit Road you’ll discover Hustlers, regarded by some as the most laidback pool hall in town. Hustlers has seven full size Brunswick tables with play costing 240 baht an hour in the evening, but half price from 11AM to 5PM, and a drinks happy hour running from 4PM to 7PM. There is also a decent menu of food and drink, including pizza, burgers, and Thai food, plus lots of comfy lounge furniture for you to enjoy it in.
The Ball in Hand (Sukhumvit soi 4)
The Ball in Hand can be found at the Rajah Hotel Complex on Sukhumvit Soi 4, and is regarded as Bangkok’s first professional pool hall. All the equipment is of pro standards with Aramith Pro balls and Cuetec cues fitted with professional layered tips, complimenting the professional Brunswick tables. Everything is so well kept it looks like a showroom rather than a busy Bangkok club. The bar also sponsors the Bangkok Pool League and host regular 8 and 9 ball competitions, including end of season tournaments, which draw in a large crowd. It’s not all about pool, there’s also a large bar of alcohol and they play some decent music. Don’t be put off by the high standard of equipment, all standards of players are welcome.
The Sportsman (Sukhumvit 13)
If you are looking to socialize while playing on some decent tables, The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 is many expats pool hall of choice. As well as having five 8-foot and two 9-foot pro Brunswick tables, the bar also serves up a lively atmosphere with a mix of music and lots of live sports screened, popular during major events. There’s also a decent menu of western pub grub and imported beers. Pool costs 20 Baht per game or 200 Baht by the hour, with regular tournaments hosted throughout the year.