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Getting Wet at Beijing’s Best Pool Spots

By Mark Turner , Add your comment Newsletter

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With many people tired of the meat market atmosphere of Beijing’s many bars and the pop-oriented dance scene, a game of pool is an often forgotten but very viable alternative to going out on the razzle. If you are tired of shouting into the ears of people in a dark, strobe-lit, smoky room and would rather have a chat and some friendly competition with friends; then we might have just the thing for you. This article brings you the joy of pool, in its many incarnations citywide.

Beijing’s Pool Bars

The Pool BarView In Map
The pool bar does exactly what it says on the tin. It is a bar with the main focus on playing pool. In addition, it has a foosball table (table football). The bar, in the locality of Houhai, is a great alternative to Sanlitun for catching a game with friends. The atmosphere is rowdy and it is frequented by students. Pool Bar is typical of the dive bar formula, meaning cheap drinks and low quality. However, what it lacks in style and finesse, it makes up for in good old-fashioned competitive fun. Unlike many bars in other countries, it is free to play, which is a real boon. Be prepared to wait a while for your table at peak times though.

Add:106 Gulou Dongdajie, Xicheng District, (Just east of Gulou), Beijing
Hours: Daily 18:00 - 3:00
Tel: 010 8404 7956

Ball House波楼View In Map
Ball House is the place that you head to when you are looking for that elusive classy/hip pool experience in Beijing. Although it only has three tables; the high arched ceilings, mezzanines, alcoves, partitioned areas and generally spiffy decoration and sleazy red lights, make for a uniquely chilled and ambient pool playing experience. Ball House could be considered a favourite haunt of beautiful pool players, if such a group exists. With new wave asymmetrical hairdos abound, you will probably spend as much time with your eye on the other patrons as you will on the cue ball.

Tables cost 30 RMB per hour and although at times the bar can get really busy, it is a fairly safe bet for a good prolonged session of playing. Another noteworthy aspect of the Ball House is the difficulty many people can have finding it; on both first and return visits! Exploring the alleyways past the right hand side of the square between the two drum towers - given that you are facing away from Guloudajie - will result in you eventually striking the trendy pool hall, marked by a door right at the end of one of the alleys.

Add: 40 Zhonglouwan Hutong, Old Gulou Dajie, (directly east of the Bell Tower), Xicheng District, Beijing
Hours: Daily 14.30 - 4:00
Tel: 010 6407 4051

Tun 屯吧 View In Map
Should you or the members of your pool playing party not be able to tear yourself from the bedlam style succession of fast drinks and fast ‘relationships’ promised by Sanlitun bar street, then Tun is your perfect destination. Tun is probably one of the city’s most popular clubs; it is lavished with almost limitless praise by as many as it is maligned by - definitely not for the faint hearted. Tun is the home of the messy night out in Sanlitun, drinking reasonably priced drinks and dancing to unabashedly tacky and unpretentious music. If chatting to and dancing with the opposite sex is higher on your agenda than playing pool, then you can probably call the venue a happy medium for those also wishing to knock some balls (pool) about.

Add: Sanlitun Nanjie, Courtyard 4 Gongti Beilu, Chaoyang District, Sanlitun Nanjie, Beijing
Hours: Daily 18:00 - late
Tel: 010 6585 5866

Luga’s Villa/BasementView In Map
The basement of a Mexican restaurant is probably not the first place you would expect to find a pool table. Discovery of the basement pool spot under Luga’s Villa, the flagship joint of the Chinese run foreign food empire, named after the very man himself, however, is a very pleasant surprise. Tucked just around the corner from the sometimes-slightly undesirable element of the Tongli Studios corridor, Luga’s Villa and Basement are quite a treasure. Sitting outside in the Summer is a relaxing and special experience as one can enjoy the view of a kind of lysergic, European, Hansel and Gretel style, brightly painted house, whilst sipping margaritas and munching burritos, before sauntering down into the basement equipped with a bar and a pool table. With the table, plus easy access to what is considered by many to be some of the best Mexican cuisine in town, makes the Basement not to be sneezed at.

Add: 1/F (below Luga's Villa), 7 Sanlitun Houjie (behind 3.3 Shopping Centre), Chaoyang District, Sanlitun 三里屯, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Hours: Daily 18:00 - late
Tel: 010 6416 2575

Glendorgal Club恪兰德高俱乐部View In Map
If you wish to see how the ‘other half’ (Beijing’s insanely rich) live, and play pool, then you had better take a trip to the fantastically named Glendorgal Club. With a name that sounds like a Russian-made moonshine brand of Scotch whisky, the management of this fine establishment has spared no expense in bringing to their patrons everything required of an upmarket adult ‘fun house’. On offer here, along with numerous pool and billiards tables are also a coffee shop, a wine lounge, and in true James Bond style, a cigar lounge - presumably for those who, like Bill Clinton, do not wish to inhale. If pools, intermingled with vulgar displays of wealth, tickle your fancy, this is the place to be.

Add: Guangcai Int’l Apartments, 18 Gongti Xilu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Hours: Daily 7:00 -22:00
Tel: 010 6551 8668

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Keywords: where to play pool in Beijing Beijing pool bars Beijing play pool

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