And where to play at a bar

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Not everyone plays pool simply to play pool. If you like to drink or hang out with friends while playing stripes and solids, here are the five best places in the borough to do so:

1. The Dram Shop

This two-year-old gastropub is a place where one of the best bar pool tables meets great food and drink.

Co-owner Clay Mallow said he and his partner Wade Hagenbart are proud of the melting pot they’ve created.

“I’m impressed. At 3 am the other night, I looked around and Creedence Clearwater Revival was playing, then A Tribe Called Quest played. And I said to myself, ‘I’m in Brooklyn in a mishmash of everything good,’” Mallow said.

Mallow is right. Not only is the table well maintained and surrounded by ample space, but the burgers are great and “every girl is beautiful,” said Perry Silva, a regular player.

Of pool, that is.

2. Angry Wade’s

A bar with a great pool table and a fireplace? Not bad — except for one thing: no one wants to leave.

“There’s a good mix of amateurs and serious pool players, so it’s a great place to play, but you’ll find people playing here for 12 to 15 hours,” said Briana Aguilar, a bartender. “It’s hard to get them out.”

3. Mark Bar This cue-sport-supporting watering hole also pulls respect with its regulars as a neighborhood bar, thanks to the longest happy hour around: 10 am to 8 pm.

The bar also has throwback video games like Pac Man and a old-school pinball machine.

“It’s like watching ‘Cheers,’” said bartender Jeremy Adona. “We’re inexpensive, laid back, and everyone is welcoming if you’re a regular or a first-timer. No matter what, you’ll feel at home.”

4. Art Land

Unlike many bars, this place takes its pool seriously.

“We change the felt almost three times a year, and our players know how to take care of it,” said Jede Clemente, who owns the Williamsburg bar with her husband.

In Art Land, kin come first. “The most important thing is family, our bar is set up like a living room,” Clemente added. “The attitude is mellow and easy. There’s no machismo here. When you’re here, man or woman, you’re safe.”

The décor may be more like a basement, with old wood floors, stained glass, and plug-in holiday lights, but who hasn’t had a good game of pool in a basement?

5. Sports Bar Polonia

This place is a little exclusive, so if you’re in Greenpoint and up for making a comrade for life, then make your way to Polonia and become a member. It’s only $25 a year, but that fee also leads to an endless supply of $1.50 beer. Yes, that’s right, beer is $1.50 for members.

And because it’s a “private club,” you can smoke there, too. Finally, a bar with a pool table that looks like the 1970s again (the glory days of bar pool!)

But there is a reason why Polonia is number five.

“The table isn’t in great shape,” said Ross Banfield, who runs the borough’s largest amateur pool league. “But it’s probably the best place to play pool for fun.”

The Dram Shop [339 Ninth St. near Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, (718) 788-1444].

Angry Wade’s [222 Smith St. near Butler Street in Cobble Hill, (718) 488-7253]. Free pool weekends before 6 pm.

The Mark Bar [1025 Manhattan Ave. near Green Street in Greenpoint, (718) 349-2340].

Artlandbar [609 Grand St. near Lorimer Street in Williamsburg, (718) 599-9706].

Polonia [85 Nassau Ave. near Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint, (718) 349-9169]. Membership: $25 per year.

Posted 12:00 am, November 25, 2009
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