300 E. Tremont Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28203
Founded in 1979, Dilworth Billiards doubles as both a social club and as a business that restores and markets antique pool, billiard and snooker tables. Inside the Dilworth location, you’ll find five beautifully restored antique pool tables, along with a full bar and vintage arcade and pinball games amid a collection of vintage pool and billiard memorabilia. Outside, a lovely brick patio with three fountains and a koi pond makes a popular spot for friendly get-togethers between games. This is a private club; new memberships cost $20. Members and their guests enjoy daily drink specials and half-price pool on Tuesdays.
1400 Central Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28205
This Plaza-Midwood favorite doesn’t have the best pool tables in town, or the best beer selection (bottles only), but it’s a consistent winner in popular polls as the best pool hall in Charlotte. Why? Rack it up to free pool on the four tables, free pizza on Friday nights, the notorious Wheel of Shots and the hoard of friendly locals who welcome new faces brave enough to step through the door. EB’s, as it’s known to regulars, occupies a former ABC store, just four brick walls in the middle of a parking lot near the corner of Pecan and Central. The fenced-off patio outside is a recent addition for smokers. The name is a carry-over from its previous Elizabeth location in the space now occupied by the Philosopher’s Stone.
19501 W. Catawba Ave.
Cornelius, NC 28031
For more than 25 years, Irish Cue has provided a gathering spot for billiards fanatics in north Mecklenburg. The Q, as it’s called by regulars, sponsors numerous APA pool leagues on its seven nine-foot regulation pool tables, plus eight-ball and nine-ball competitions, Scotch Doubles tourneys and a Ladies League. But that’s just part of the fun. The Q also has electronic darts, pinball, video bowling and golf, free Wii and lots of flat-screen TVs tuned to sports, plus a full bar, a popular food menu and a $1.50 beer special every day. The Irish Cue is located right on Lake Norman with a great lakeside patio with plenty of room for lounging by the water.
1898 Windsor Square Drive
Matthews, NC 28105
Rack’em on Charlotte’s east side is a large facility with more than 20 pool tables, plus a full service bar, 12 HDTVs and a food menu featuring burgers, pizzas, salads and more. A pool tournament is held every Friday night, with weekly team and individual competition in both eight-ball and nine-ball, as well as many special fundraising tourneys for good causes. Other fun things to do here include darts, foosball and Wii. Rack’em is open every day year-round until 2 a.m., and offers free Wi-Fi for guests.
10901 University City Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28213
Located in the University area just off I-485, The Smokin’ Cue attracts a crowd of pros, semi-pros and amateurs serious about playing pool. The 16 nine-foot Brunswick tables are well-maintained and see a variety of individual and team tournament play each week. The patrons here compete for cash payouts, including 10-ball break-n-run pots of over $10,000. The Smokin’ Cue has a full bar with daily beer specials including several local brews on tap, a bar food menu and a billiard gear store selling cues and other accessories.
With 15 years of experience covering restaurants in Charlotte and the Carolinas, and two regional guidebooks under her belt, Renee Wright examines the dining scene with enthusiasm plus a deep knowledge of food trends and outstanding local eating ops. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.