Chris's Billiards

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Maybe the most famous pool hall in Chicago. How famous? Back in 1986, director Martin Scorsese filmed key scenes of his movie "The Color of Money" here. "Scorsese, he checked all the rooms (in Chicago), but then he said that this room reminded him of a room he played in Philadelphia," former owner Chris Chrisman said. "Most of the old rooms were in a downtown area. They were in multi-story buildings. You took an elevator or you took the stairs." When you mount the long staircase that leads to Chris's, the framed photographs on the wall tell you you aren't ascending into a yuppie pool room. The pictures of world championship players who have chalked their cues at Chris's tell you that this is not a room for dilettantes. People who are interested in the game come here because the rates are lower and the competition is good, so you can learn more. The space is a vast plain of green felt: more than 40 tables. On weekends, they're almost all clacking. The back room has a set of bleachers for watching tournaments. The competitions, with purses of up to $5,000, have drawn pool players as sharp as Sang Lee, the 1994 champion. (In September 1997, Crisman sold his place; the new owners appear to be maintaining his standards for clean play.)