Shanghai’s 7 best pool halls

Shanghai’s 7 best pool halls

Tired of the clubs and just want to kick it with a few beers and play a little 8-ball? We’ve got you covered
Shanghai pool halls

Summoning our inner pool shark, we’ve played (and lost) at almost every billiards hall in Shanghai, and we’ve narrowed down seven of our favorites that are definitely worth a visit.

Number 5 Bistro, Shanghai pool hallsIf you want something to do while your wife or girlfriend is upstairs at Glamour Bar

Try: Number 5 Bistro
Number 5 Bistro may have one of the most pretentious addresses in Shanghai, but it is anything but. Located in the basement of Five on the Bund, this unexpectedly modest neighborhood bar boasts some of the lowest prices (outside of convenient stores) for drinks in the area. Spend over RMB 200 on food and booze, and they’ll reward you with an hour of free pool. Otherwise, an hour will run you RMB 40.

Pros: Ideally located in one of the swankiest parts of town.
Cons: The RMB 200 worth of food and drinks minimum seems pretty steep for an hour of table time.
B/F, Five on the Bund, 20 Guangdong Lu, near the Bund 广东路20号B楼, 广东路20号, 地下1楼, +86 21 6329 4558

Malone's, Shanghai pool hallsIf you want to play while watching sports and eating a burger …

Try: Malone’s (Tongren Lu location)
Buy any single item on the menu (think cheap), and your round of pool is absolutely free. Come on Mondays, and be treated to their weekly specials -- choose any of their over 30 varieties of burgers and a Tiger Beer for RMB 50 (from 2-11pm). Or stay even later (from 10pm-close) and enjoy any well drink for just RMB 20. Sit back, watch some sports and listen to the live Filipino band while shooting around.

Pros: Total of a Monday night bill: One burger + one beer + one well drink + a round of pool = RMB 70.
Cons: The live Filipino band (every night except Sundays).
255 Tongren Lu near Nanjing Xi Lu 铜仁路225号, 近南京西路 +86 21 6247 2400

8 Ball, Shanghai pool hallsIf you don’t want to spend a lot of money, but want to play …

Try: 8 Ball Billiards
Listed as the very first stop on our tour of Dingxi Lu, 8 Ball Billiards is open all afternoon and evening, allowing you to practice your pool skills all day long. The best part of this pool hall though? If you don’t want to order a beer off their list, simply bring your own; run across the street and grab a tall boy Qing Dao for no more than RMB 3.

Pros: BYOB and cheap.
Cons: Fighting western foreign exchange students for a table.
3/F, 685 Dingxi Lu, near Fahuazhen Lu 定西路685号3楼, 近法华镇路


I Love Shanghai, Shanghai pool hallsIf you want to play with your fraternity bros …

Try: I Love Shanghai
There always seems to be a drink special or a game of beer pong going on at one of Shanghai’s most beloved (and most rowdy) neighborhood bars. Take a break from the pong to play some free billiards (as long as you buy something). Drinks usually start at RMB 40, and the party will no doubt get going later on, so watch out where you point your cue.

Pros: 1. You don’t have to be good to play here, because everyone else will be too drunk to pass judgment. 2. Ladies’ Night
Cons: 1. Everyone is wasted all the time. 2. Ladies’ Night
2/F, 1788 Xinhua Lu, near Jiaozhou Lu新闸路1788号2-3楼, 近胶州路, +86 21 5228 6899

O'Malley's, Shanghai pool hallsIf you want to play with your kids … then with your rugby teammates

Try: O’Malley’s
The expat institution, O’Malley’s, is one of the family friendliest bars in town. So bring the kids and teach them how to play a little pool, while enjoying a smooth Guinness. When the kids go to bed, come back and play with the older and more raucous crowd. Regulars here are good -- so don’t fall for the hustle.

Pros: Family friendly, great outdoor space, and a football game is always on.
Cons: Many people are eyeing that table, not just you, and once they have it, they are hard pressed to let it go.
42 Taojiang Lu near Hengshan Lu 桃江路42号, 近衡山路, +86 21 6474 4533

Oscar's, Shanghai pool hallsIf you want to play with the sharks …

Try: Oscar’s
While the crowd at Oscar’s is pretty laid back, they take their pool seriously here. Buy a drink – which all start at RMB 35 for beers and RMB 55 for cocktails – and the table’s yours for free. The table is ideally located upstairs near the open air seating area.

Pros: No table fee (and don’t tell them we told you, but one of our waiters said that even if you don’t buy anything, you can still get the free table).
Cons: Only one table.
1377 Fuxing Lu, near Baoqing Lu 复兴中路1377号, 近宝庆路, +86 21 6431 6528



Big Bamboo, Shanghai pool hallsIf you want to play in a league …

Try: Big Bamboo (Nanchang Lu location)
There are many things to love about Big Bamboo on Nanyang Lu -- great drink specials, great food specials, great sports on TV, and pool. Celebrated as one of the ‘Hai’s longest running sports bar, they’ve got it all from foosball to darts to billiards. Thursday Night is League Night -- Big Bamboo sponsors a team in their Shanghai Pool League to compete against other bars in the city. If you don’t think you can make the cut on a league team, then come on Mondays, as they hold a single’s 8-Ball tourney every week starting at 19:30. Just make sure to sign up before 7pm.

Pros: Really good billiards played, really good drinks served.
Cons: Not much room on Thursdays for amateurs or non-leaguers.
123 Nanyang Lu, near Tongren Lu 南阳路132号, 近铜仁路, +86 21 6256 2265