On the hunt for Bangkok’s best billiards
Although the term “sports bar” is often used to describe any drinking den showing football matches on a big screen, a true sports bar can be so much more. Take for instance The Sportsman Bar and Restaurant, located on Sukhumvit Soi 13, which is generally regarded as one of Bangkok’s best billiard halls. And although the green felt of professional size pool tables dominate both floors of this spacious watering hole, there’s also darts, shuffleboard, foosball, and arcade games to enjoy, as well as limitless sports viewing options (thanks to the bar’s many different satellite feeds).
The offerings behind the bar are also a step above the average punter pub, as a range of Belgian brews, UK imports (including Guinness currently at B199 a pint), imported ciders, and several American craft beers (priced around B260) are all available. And should you care to tuck into some pub grub the kitchen can whip up everything from classic steak and kidney pie and beans on toast, to a fabulous weekly Sunday roast (only B195), complete with Yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes, veggies and plenty of gravy.
However what draws many to this venerable Bangkok institution—prior to finding a home on Soi 13 it was part of the now long gone Washington Square complex on Sukhumvit Soi 22—are the 14 Brunswick pool tables which are all kept in immaculate condition. “The cloths are changed every six months,” points out Joseph Veriato, one of the bar’s owners.
Joseph goes on to explain how about a year and a half ago the upstairs area was opened, adding seven more 9” x 5” tables into the mix (the original downstairs area offers four 8” x 4” tables, and three 9” x 5” tables). Serious players tend to gravitate to the upstairs area, especially on Mondays and Wednesdays during the league nights, wherein about 30 bars compete in a series of “home and away” games. There’s also an 8-ball competition every Friday evening, and Saturdays are reserved what Joseph refers to as “high roller games”, which often attract well-heeled international players. But thankfully there’s always a few tables left open for the general public, priced at B240 per hour (or B50 per game on the challenger table) upstairs, and B200 per hour downstairs.
Anyone interested to join one of the 9-ball or 8-ball leagues can simply make an inquiry at the bar. You’ll be handicapped accordingly and it’s worth noting that all league players play for free (and get a free pint) which certainly sweetens the deal. However for average lads and lasses who just want a comfortable pool playing environment—with proper lighting, cues that aren’t warped, and playing surfaces free of cigarette burns and the remnants of copious spilled drinks—this is the place.
Unit 10/22 Trendy Condominium, Sukhumvit Soi 13
Tel: 02 168 7241
Open daily: 8am – 2am
4pm – 1am (upstairs)