Porous carbon materials are of interest in many applications because of their high surface area and physicochemical properties. Conventional syntheses can only produce randomly porous materials, with little control over the pore-size distributions, let alone mesostructures. Recent breakthroughs in the preparation of other porous materials have resulted in the development of methods for the preparation of mesoporous carbon materials with extremely high surface areas and ordered mesostructures, with potential applications as catalysts, separation media, and advanced electronic materials in many scientific disciplines. Current syntheses can be categorized as either hard-template or soft-template methods. Both are examined in this Review along with procedures for surface functionalization of the carbon materials obtained.