The borough’s top spots to get behind the 8-ball and shoot away the winter chill

by Catherine Gigante-Brown

The real star of Hall of Fame Billiards is owner Jean Balukas, who ranks among the most stellar players in the history of the sport. This is the crème de la crème of pool parlors: slick, sleek, classy, with mucho wood and beautifully lit with elegant fixtures above each table. The refreshingly alcohol-free setting also boasts a caged ping-pong area and video arcade. Open 7 days from 12 p.m. to 2 a.m. (weekends until 2:30 a.m.). 505 Ovington Avenue, Bay Ridge, 718.921.2694

For a sprawling sports pub feel, subterranean Brownstone Billiards is a must, with its oversized bar, booth tables, plentiful food and drink, and 30 regulation-size tables. The crowd is casual and mixed, and the menu—notches above typical pool hall fare—including crab cakes and Kobe beef sliders. For a late night billiards fix, they’re open until 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights (until 1 a.m. the rest of the week). 308 Flatbush Avenue, Park Slope, 718.857.5555,

An upscale lounge with a plethora of pool possibilities— more than a dozen nine-foot Brunswick tables, a 10-foot Chevillotte heated billiard table, and a seven-foot diamond smart table—Skyline Billiard Club is an aficionado’s oasis. It features a Thursday Ladies’ Night, tournaments, plus Monday and Wednesday APL and BCA leagues. Well-maintained and with an excellent cue selection, Skyline’s considered by many to be the borough’s best. 2515 McDonald Avenue, 2nd floor, Bensonhurst, 718.627.3407,

Open since 2003 (with a complete reno in 2013), Gotham City Billiards Club is the kind of local joint where it’s easy to picture Jackie Gleason or Paul Newman holding cue court. With Diamond Pro/Am tables and lights as well as a 10-foot Pro/Am table, tastefully decorated with sports memorabilia and classic model cars. It hosts an annual Nine-Ball Pro Classic as well as other tournaments—including a weekly and more casual Tuesday night contest. Another plus: the awesome and friendly house pro, Jorge Rodriguez. 93 Avenue U, Gravesend, 718.714.1002,

Smack dab between Red Hook and Carroll Gardens is 40 Knots Bar, a welcoming local watering hole with Karaoke Wednesdays, Sunday jazz, and plenty of pool at a buck a game. Besides cool cocktails and awesome bartenders, there’s a winning neighborhoody vibe. A hidden gem with funky décor and an eclectic clientele, and there’s even buzz that they’re recruiting an APA league team. 200 Columbia Street, 917.733.1054,

Venturing into the borough hinterlands to reach Boardwalk Billiards is worth the trek—just a stone’s throw from the Brighton Beach boardwalk. In addition to 16 pool tables, there’s also five Butterfly ping-pong tables, seven Russian Pyramid tables (they host a Moscow Pyramid Tournament), a snooker table, and arcade games. Thursday is Ladies Night, with half off on pool. The environment, staff, and tables are all on point in this clean, cozy spot. 3200 Coney Island Avenue, Brighton Beach, 718.943.7777

Cellini Spread

New Era Billiard has been praised for its no-frills, friendly ambiance, as well as its music and weekend DJs. There’s hardly ever a wait for a table, either, of which there are 10 (two Gold Crown and eight Brunswick). The perfect place to pop in for a few racks after a meal in nearby Chinatown. Alcohol is served, plus there’s Lotto to feed your gambling needs. 4008 8th Avenue, Sunset Park, 917.299.8722

Although the Divine Bar has only one table, it’s a primo spot to get a mouthwatering nosh and shoot a game or two. Comfy, and with 16 draft beers along with icy-cold cans of Brooklyn’s old-school throwback, Pabst Blue Ribbon. The menu is mostly Mexican, with a smattering of burgers and pastas for good measure. There’s a weekday Happy Hour (3 to 7 p.m.), plus beer and shot combos. Open from 3 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. (4 a.m. on Saturdays), with the kitchen cooking ’til 1 a.m. 896 Broadway, Bed-Stuy, 718.455.5455,