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.
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.
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.
The Uncommons, 230 Thompson St, New York, NY, USA, +1 646 543 9215
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.
Alligator Lounge, 600 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY, USA, +1 718 599 4440
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.
Royal Palms Shuffleboard, 514 Union St, Brooklyn, NY, USA, +1 347 223 4410
Two-Bit’s Retro Arcade
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.
Two-Bit’s Retro Arcade, 153 Essex St, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 477 8161
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.
The Gutter, 200 N 14th St, Brooklyn, NY, USA, +1 718 387 3585
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.
Union Hall, 702 Union St, Brooklyn, NY, USA, +1 718 638 4400
Bushwick Country Club
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.
Bushwick Country Club, 618 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY, USA, +1 718 388 2114
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.
Nowadays, 56-06 Cooper Ave, Ridgewood, NY, USA, +1 347 523 8535
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.
Fat Cat, 75 Christopher St, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 675 6056