Open since 1992, Atomic Billiards serves as Cleveland Park's scruffy basement rec room. It's dark and loud, and the decor features retro-corny murals of rocketships and Martians, glittering acrylic table tops and plastic '60s-style lamps. The one-room bar is always lively: Groups of 20- and 30-somethings crowd around the five blue-felt pool tables and the two shuffleboard tables, and couples find seats to play Connect Four or Uno. This is one of the few spots in town where a menu at the bar lists board games that customers can play.
Atomic's never-ending parade of specials attracts the neighborhood crowd. Women can play pool free on Sunday nights with a drink purchase, and everyone plays for half-price on Wednesdays. Guinness costs $5 every Thursday night. During weekday happy hours, which run until 8 p.m., Bud Light, Fat Tire and other draft beers are $3.25 and mixed drinks, $4.
The bar stands out for its jukebox, lovingly stocked by the staff with actual CDs. The eclectic mix includes the Smiths, Guns N' Roses, the Beastie Boys, James Brown and the Clash -- everything you'd want for a night of hanging out and playing darts and pool.
-- Fritz Hahn (Aug. 24, 2012)