10 Fun New York City Bars With Games and Activities

© Natalie Keyssar for Mr Saturday Night
© Natalie Keyssar for Mr Saturday Night
Photo of Julia Goicochea
9 November 2017

In New York City, we take our fun seriously. We know the perfect pairing for any craft beer or strong cocktail is a combination of lively conversation, laughter, and—because it’s New York—a healthy dose of competitiveness. These New York City bars, which offer everything from bowling to shuffleboard to your favorite childhood video games, are making going out fun again.

Barcade

Bar, Pub, American, $$$
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Barcade
© Joshua Kirby / Flickr
Credited as the first New York bar to bring play into the pub, this throwback business sets the standard for gaming and guzzling in the city. At Barcade’s Brooklyn and Manhattan locations, you’ll make your way through the bar’s 25 locally brewed beers on tap while trying your hand at Ms. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and more arcade classics from the ’80s and ’90s.

The Uncommons

Cafe, American
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The windows at The Uncommons display a variety of board games
Get playful with beer and hundreds of board games at The Uncommons | Courtesy of The Uncommons
As “Manhattan’s only board game cafe,” The Uncommons attracts gamers from across New York City looking to let their geek flag fly. A $5 cover grants you an all-day pass, and with over 750 gaming options, you may just want every bit of that time. Varieties including Settlers of Catan, Cards Against Humanity, and Magic: The Gathering pair perfectly with The Uncommons’ craft beer selection and drunk foods such as personal pizzas and pigs in a blanket.

Alligator Lounge

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Pizzeria, Italian
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For wallet-friendly fun, Alligator Lounge in Williamsburg can’t be beaten. Take your pick of gratis games such as bingo, trivia, and board games, or spring for $1 activities, which include pool and skeeball. Considering the Alligator’s ample entertainment, affordable drinks, which earn you a free pizza with every purchase (really), are just (albeit delicious) icing on the cake.

Royal Palms Shuffleboard

Bar, Food Truck, Pub Grub, $$$
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The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, New York
The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, New York | Courtesy of Royal Palms Shuffleboard
Gowanus game-seekers will love Royal Palms Shuffleboard, a kitschy-cool club bringing Boca Raton to Brooklyn. For just $40 an hour, your group gains access to one of the Palms’ 10 shuffleboard courts (don’t worry, your purchase comes with a complimentary lesson). In true Florida fashion, the club also features DJs, plenty of board games, and tiki cocktails, drink umbrella included.

Two-Bit's Retro Arcade

Bar, American
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Travel back in time at this ripped-from-the-’80s retro arcade, where more than 40 throwback machines include Donkey Kong, Street Fighter, and Frogger. At Two-Bit’s Retro Arcade, beer and wine are served alongside classic candies and pizza, fortifying fare for marathon sessions of pinball and Pac-Man.

The Gutter

Bar, Pub Grub, American
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The antidote to Williamsburg’s often boogie bar scene, The Gutter offers classic hardwood bowling, American craft beer, and no pretension. Here, Brooklyn bar-goers can enjoy eight bowling lanes, a pool table, and live music every Thursday through Saturday. Tip: Take advantage of the bar’s multiple happy hours, which includes a two-for-one bowling deal Sundays through Fridays and discounted drinks on weekdays.

Union Hall

Building, Concert Hall, Library, Music Venue
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Union Hall, 702 Union Street
Union Hall, 702 Union Street | Courtesy of Union Hall, credit: Jeremy Amar
Equipped with cozy fireside seating, a bar featuring live comedy, and two indoor bocce courts, Union Hall is an ideal destination for friends and flings alike. At this bi-level bar in Park Slope, homemade beer cheese and solid cocktails fuel lively rounds of bocce, an old-school Italian game similar to lawn bowling. Don’t know how to play? Don’t worry—you’ll blend right in at this popular spot, where fun trumps form every time.

Bushwick Country Club

Bar, American
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Bushwick Country Club is full of contradictions: for starters, the spot sits in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and is really more of a down-home dive bar than a classic country club. However, with its mini-golf course, black-and-white photo booth, and famous sloshed slushies, BCC is also full of fun. Grab yourself a handful of free cheese puffs and a pickleback shot (they were invented here, after all), and check your expectations at the door to guarantee a good time.

Nowadays

Bar, American, $$$
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With its famous Mister Sunday dance parties and ping pong games, this bar on the Ridgewood-Bushwick border makes good on its declaration that “the good old days are Nowadays.” Occupying 5,000 square feet of outdoor space, Nowadays is a community backyard, complete with an extensive beer selection, hearty food, a pup-friendly policy, and summer vacation vibes, all year round.

Fat Cat

Bar, Pub Grub
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Relive your college days at this delightfully scruffy Greenwich Village hangout, the last of its kind in Manhattan. Great for groups, Fat Cat is a basement bar and billiards hall featuring pool, ping pong, foosball, shuffleboard, and much more. Rounding out the offerings at this frat house haunt are nightly live musical performances, local beer and wine, and good vibes.

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