Whenever my wife and I plan a trip somewhere one of the first things I do is see if there is going to be a place where I can play pool. My wife is a avid cake maker and every now and then she goes to one of these cake conventions. Recently we went to Chicago for something to do with cakes. I don’t know what it was called, all I know is that she got to meet “Duff” the cake guy on TV. She was thrilled and so was I. Why you ask? Because I was going to a pool playing mecca of sorts.
Chris’s Billiards in Chicago Ill. Where scenes from The Color Of Money was shot! Believe it or not the place hasn’t changed much from the 80’s when the movie was made but in this case that’s a good thing!. The 41 9 foot gold crown tables 1 snooker table and 3 glorious carom tables spread out creating a sea of green felt that I call Shangri La!
This is a true old school pool hall. Bring your own booze and no smoking……in the front! No dancing, no music just serious pool. When i walked in I couldn’t help but remember the line from the movie The Hustler, “No bar, no pinball machines, no bowling alleys…just pool, nothing else…this is Ames, mister“! Yep, I was in heaven.
And for once I summoned my best game when i needed it!
I started out playing on a 9 foot gold crown by myself, sure enough one of the locals came over to test me out. He was a nice guy with a decent game and we had fun shooting for a hour or so. But I was really looking to play somebody that was my speed or better….. and I found it! The guy I played next was a straight pool player by nature but was really gifted at 9 ball. We played for at least 3 hours and he ended up winning a few more than me but I was quite please with how I played.
After that I played some snooker for awhile and won my first and only game that seemed to take forever! Then I decided to do something I had always wanted to try but never had the opportunity, 3 cushion billiards. The Cubans ruled this area of the pool hall, and I was the only person at the carom tables that couldn’t speak fluent Spanish but I managed to get a game against this guy called Raul or as his friends like to call him The Cuban ATM! (apparently he tried to pay his losses in pesos one time!) Raul was kind enough to give me a few pointers while kicking my butt the first game but at the end of the night I wound up with enough winnings to pay for my table time for the night (small friendly stakes) and made a few friends in the process. It was a great night that I wont soon forget and I can’t wait to go back.