By J.H. Palmer

Marie’s Golden Cue, on Montrose between Kedzie and Spaulding, endures in a 1930s deco storefront with glossy white terra cotta tiles. The phrase: “Cue Stick Repair Shop, Professional Workmanship,” appears on a painted sign that hangs in the picture window facing Montrose.

[blocktext align=”left”]Although Chicago is officially smoke free, there’s plenty of evidence of Marie’s smoky past.[/blocktext]I’ve cast my vote at Marie’s in every election since I moved to this neighborhood, and it tickles me that the site of my civic duty regularly sports lettering on their 1950s era marquee sign spelling out: “We have smooth shafts and clean balls.”

Although Chicago is officially smoke free, there’s plenty of evidence of Marie’s smoky past — beneath the rails of each of her 20 Brunswick pool tables are dark burn marks from cigarettes smoked long ago. Fading signs written in pre-Helvetica script hang on the walls with directives like “Masse shots are not allowed,” “rule of the house — keep your butt and your butts off the table” and “I once gave up pool, it was the most terrifying weekend of my life.”

Marie's sThe front desk features a hot dog spit slowly spinning wrinkled franks; it’s the best lit object in the whole place. The spinning mechanism moves in starts, resting every few seconds, and then soldiers on for another cycle.

It’s a great neighborhood joint to spend an evening, and if pool isn’t your game, there are a handful of video games and a coin operated claw machine at the front to keep you busy.


J.H. Palmer co-produces the Chicago monthly live lit series That’s All She Wrote. She has appeared at a number of storytelling and live lit venues including Story Lab, Story Club, Essay Fiesta, The Paper Machete, This Much Is True, 2nd Story, Tuesday Funk, Massmouth, Adult Education, SKALD, Mortified, WRITE CLUB! and The Moth GrandSLAM.

Readers’ Corner is part of an ongoing series – other installments can be found here: