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Pool-side at Twain's

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Wanna shoot some stick? Lots of bars have pool tables, but Twain's has 20, 10 each for smokers and non-smokers, located in separate rooms. The tables are regulation length, which is considerably larger than your standard bar variety table. Shoot a few games here, then go back to a regular bar table and your friends will start calling you Minnesota Fats. That old table just won't seem so good after the ample room, straight house sticks and shiny balls at Twain's. To play, it's $10 an hour after 7 p.m., free with lunch Tuesday-Friday; and ladies play free on Tuesdays with a $12 minimum tab.Besides pool, you can amuse yourself with darts, Foosball ($5/hour), shuffleboard or table hockey. And if you count trivia as a sport, you can do that too, on Monday nights at 8 p.m.

To make your game better (or at least make you think it's getting better), Twain's has featured one of the city's best collections of beers on tap since it opened in 1995. Right now, the selection is heavy on summer beers and Hefeweizens. A sampler tray of five choice summer selections is available, so you can settle on a favorite or enjoy them all. Most craft brews and imports are $4.25 for a 20-ounce imperial pint. (Red Hook, Abita Purple Haze and the tasty Dogwood Summer are a little less.)

If you get hungry, order up bar classics like sourdough-battered onion rings ($4.25), wings (eight large for $5.25) or a quesadilla ($5.25 for a basic cheese). The muffaleta ($6.95) and creamy crabcake sandwiches ($6.75) are interesting variants from the usual ham and cheese or fried fish sandwich.

If you're playing games of a different kind, take a seat on the small comfortable patio, or crash on one of the couches. On a recent visit, we saw a couch couple making out hot-and-heavy. Though that isn't typical of the Twain's vibe, you'll often make new friends when you hang out there. The crowd is cool, not icy, with a mix of older college kids and working stiffs who wish they were still in college. The jukebox is packed with a variety of good tunes from Abba to Adam Ant, and the patrons know what to pick. So don't worry if you're a lousy pool player, there's plenty to do at Twain's. And, after all, it's not hard to look sexy leaning over those big tables. Who knows? Maybe you'll end up shooting stick with your pool partner after you leave.

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