Time for another edition of Classic Chicago, where we feature the people, places and things that make our city special.
You've probably never heard of this Jefferson Park pool hall, but Chris's Billiards been seen by millions, all over the world.
Tom Cruise, Paul Newman and Eric Clapton helped make pool cool in the 1986 movie "The Color of Money." Much of the film was shot at the nondescript pool hall on the Northwest Side.
Chris's Billiards reeks with authenticity. It's a gritty sort of place where serious players have been gathering for nearly a half century - but not to socialize. You can't even buy a drink here. They come to the pool hall at Milwaukee and Wilson to play.
For one regular, the attraction of the game depends on the player.
"It's self-gratification, self-expression," he said. "It's a science, craft, art. Geometry. Anything to anybody."
There are 48 tables in all, to play three cushion 9-ball, 8-ball and snooker. You name it, you can play it.
The yellow clippings tell the story of where the greats played over the years, and where seasoned veterans and young women too come to play the games they love.
Nothing much has changed at Chris's. Although in the late 1980s they slapped a poster of the Martin Scorsese film up on the wall - a poster of the movie that really put the pool hall on the map for a lot of people.
The action was filmed upstairs, where the owner has hung a montage with old photos and articles from back in the day in 1986. Newman and Cruise gave cool in general a real boost back then.
Because of computer and video games, the number of customers totals at less than in the past. But for those who do come, it's pool like it ought to be. Just feels like you're going back in time when you walk in the building.
"Every time I open that door seems like you're walking back into the 30s, 40s," one regular said. "Unbelievable."
Chris's Billiards is still a great place to go if you really want to play pool. All the reviews are very positive.
One player said is almost makes him feel like a young tom cruise. Another said they come for a real institution.
But don't expect a mixologist to entertain you. Entertain yourself.
WJBK-TV | Fox 2
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