Whether you’re a seasoned shooter or don’t know the difference between a cue and an 8 ball, Charm City has a plethora of pool halls for both beginners and pros. From Parkville to Frederick, we’ve racked up five of the best bars and halls around Baltimore for every type of player.

VIP Billiards
6541 Baltimore National Pike
Catonsville, Md. 21228
(410) 747-2551

VIP Billiards boasts of being a place “by pool players, for pool players” and lives up to its name. On the brink of being shut down, the pool hall was purchased by Steve and Jess Didier in May 2011 and has since become a staple of the Maryland pool hall scene. With their “no alcohol” and “no smoking” policies, the venue is ideal for events ranging from after-prom parties to church outings to work gatherings and everything in between. For the serious pool connoisseurs, VIP Billiards regularly hosts the Action Pool Tour—the largest in the Mid-Atlantic region—along with several others. New to the cue? VIP Billiards also offers pool instruction with BCA recognized instructor, Jess Didier. Contact Jess at jdidier@vipbilliards.net to schedule a lesson.

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Top Hat Cue Club

8809 Satyr Hill Road
Parkville, Md. 21234
(410) 665-1906

Top Hat Cue Club has been a fixture in Parkville for three decades. Newly renovated, Top Hat is a pristine, family-friendly environment with some of the most top-of-the-line pool tables on the market, including a Gabriels Imperator Table, 25 Brunswick Gold Crown pool tables and five Butterfly championship table tennis tables. Along with pool, the expansive venue houses an arcade featuring classic favorites like Ms. Pacman and Skee Ball. If hunger strikes, Top Hat also offers homemade comfort foods to nosh on like chicken noodle soup, tuna salad and chili.

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(Photo credit: YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP/Getty Images)

Champion Billiards Sports Café
5205 Buckeystown Pike
Frederick, Md. 21704
(301) 846-0089

Click here for a calendar of events

Champion Billiards might seem like somewhat of a trek for those that habituate the heart of Baltimore, but the trip is well worth it. A few things set Champion apart from other venues, including the presence of house pro Mike Sigel—a hall-of-famer (and legend among pool players) with both national and international champion titles under his belt. Another distinction of this venue is that it operates as much more than just a pool hall. Champion Billiards has a full dining room and bar that stretches more than 150 feet. Finally, those visiting on the weekends can enjoy music from the most revered local bands and DJs in the area, along with national acts such as The Eli Young Band, Steve Holly and many others.

(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Benny’s Gentlemen Cue Club
312 Reisterstown Road
Pikesville, Md. 21208
(410) 653-0407

Those looking to get sauced while they shoot needn’t pay a visit to Benny’s Gentlemen Cue Club; the pool hall has a strict “no drinking” policy and only allows entry to members who are serious about the game. However, it’s this dogmatic nature that has made Benny’s an archetype of what pool halls were originally meant to be since its opening in 1972—felt-topped tables, racks and cues.

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Golden Sports Bar and Grill
8801 Baltimore National Pike
Ellicott City, Md. 21043
(410) 480-2994

Happy hour specials, live entertainment and a friendly atmosphere make this venue a must for league players and beginners alike. The American Poolplayers Association (APA) of Maryland hosts weekly events for pool leagues, with 8-ball leagues on Mondays and 9-ball leagues on Wednesdays. League players can enjoy the added benefit of playing for free on Sundays. Along with their pool hall, Golden Sports Bar and Grill has four dart boards, KENO and several video games. Happy hour specials and food specials are available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and patrons can enjoy live music every Friday and Saturday.

Tracy Dye has always had an affinity toward writing and the arts. A fan of exploring all the hidden gems in Baltimore outside of her work and studies, Tracy is thrilled for the opportunity to bring residents all the latest on nightlife and music in the area. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.