If you’re into pool and are new or visiting San Diego, check out this guide! Created by William, a seasoned pool player and BCA League member, he lists the best spots to play, based on his extensive experience in San Diego over the past 10 years. Have questions? Swing by the recommended places and ask for William – he’s usually there!
As you peruse this guide, you’ll encounter acronyms like BCA and APA, signifying the world’s leading pool leagues. But if you’re not a league player, there’s no need for concern! Every pool enthusiast is welcome at the venues listed, so feel free to join in and enjoy the game at these top-rated halls.
1. On Cue Billiards
On Cue Billiards, 8308 Parkway Dr, La Mesa, CA 91942 | Phone: (619) 463-8759
OnCue is a prime hotspot for many BCA and APA league players. This bustling venue boasts numerous Brunswick 9-foot pool tables, a snooker table, three Diamond 7-foot tables (also known as bar boxes), and a rarely-used 3-ball cushion table—often serving as a resting spot for players’ valued pool gear. OnCue also attracts the city’s elite Filipino players with its 9-foot tables featuring Thai Pockets, known for their notably tight pockets that up the game’s challenge, precisely what some of the town’s top Filipino players seek.
Furthermore, OnCue regularly hosts APA and BCA leagues and organizes engaging tournaments. As of 2023, the 9-ball tournament kicks off every Friday, often extending into the late night. Be advised, Wednesday evenings are particularly busy due to the popular BCA 10-ball tournaments taking place.
For those eligible, military and BCA discounts are available, alongside monthly memberships. For more details, don’t hesitate to approach the friendly staff at the desk. And for the record, OnCue holds a special place in my heart—it’s my absolute favorite.
2. O Billiards Cafe
O Billiard Cafe, 4887 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 921112 | Phone: (858) 268-0688
O Billiards Cafe, still commonly known by its old name, O Zone Billiard Cafe, changed its name nearly a decade ago. If you hear a local suggest “Ozone” as a top spot and can’t find it online, you’re in the know.
O Billiards Cafe, much like On Cue, is a host to APA and BCA league games. Every Monday from 6 PM onwards, the place is alive with a league night that’s said to have been a tradition for over 30 years. You’ll find players young and old enjoying the game. However, securing one of the four Diamond 7-foot tables on a Monday night might be a challenge. On non-league game days, you’ll likely have better luck.
For fans of 7-foot tables, O Billiards Cafe offers top-of-the-line, pricey brands, much like On Cue. The venue also features a variety of 9-foot tables for pool lovers. Some prefer O Billiards because of its location in Kearny Mesa, known as the hub of Asian Culture in San Diego.
Bear in mind, O Billiards is on the more expensive side, but if you’re planning frequent visits, it might be worth asking about monthly memberships.
3. College Billiards
College Billiards, 5303 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92115 | Phone: (619) 582-4550
Established in the 60s, College Billiards is one of the oldest pool halls in town, steeped in rich history. Situated in the College area, the neighborhood might not be everyone’s favorite, but that doesn’t keep the devoted pool enthusiasts away from this iconic spot. Known for its abundance of pool tables and as the talk of the town among 3-cushion players, College Billiards is the go-to destination for those who appreciate the game in all its forms.
It’s the only place in town where you’ll hear buzz about 3-cushion tables, making it a hub for fans and players alike. Even if your interests lie in 8, 9, 10, straight pool, one pocket, or similar games, you’ll likely be entertained watching 3-cushion players skillfully showcasing their talents. Don’t be surprised to spot some of the world’s top 3-cushion players frequenting College.
Like On Cue and O Billiards, College Billiards regularly hosts league games for APA and BCA players. What sets it apart, however, is the delightful, separately managed Mexican restaurant housed within the pool hall itself. Not only does it draw visitors for its excellent cuisine, but it also adds to the vibrant atmosphere, particularly in the evenings. With Mexican tunes often emanating from the jukebox, paired with delectable Mexican food and the distinctive character of the neighborhood, College Billiards undoubtedly offers a unique and lively vibe unmatched by other pool halls in the area.
4. Pockets Billiards & Brew
Pockets Billiards & Brew, 5610 Kearny Mesa Rd suite e, San Diego, CA 92111 | Phone: (858) 876-5452
Owned and operated by a former professional female pool player, Pockets truly lives up to its name, offering both a fantastic bar atmosphere and an ample number of pool tables. The hallmark of Pockets is its array of 7-foot tables, making it the venue of choice for enthusiasts who prefer these over the larger 9-foot alternatives.
While Pockets may not boast high-end brands like Diamond or Predator for their tables, and the felts may be a bit slower, it holds a special place in the hearts of many players. It’s particularly favored for casual play and enjoyable nights out with friends, not just for league nights.
Adding to its allure, Pockets serves delicious food, including standout offerings like gluten-free broccoli pizza, and of course, a wide variety of beers to choose from. When I catch wind of someone heading to Pockets for a game, it’s an invitation I invariably hate to miss. Pockets is not just a pool hall; it’s a trove of delightful experiences and memories waiting to be created. Whether you’re a serious player or just looking for a laid-back night of pool and fun with friends, Pockets promises a memorable time.