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Flickr: Elea Chang

Bars with board games in Melbourne

Some bars are just made for long (read: tipsy) games of Scrabble, chess or Balderdash

Cassidy Knowlton
Written by
Cassidy Knowlton
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There are some bars that are good for serious drinking, some bars that are good for dancing, and some bars that make you want to hang out with your mates for hours, play games and have a few drinks. Try out various libations with different amusements (Connect Four with beers? Chess with Martinis?), and you might just find your winning combinations.

For more drinking fun, make a race out of finding Melbourne's best hidden bars, or visit our favourite karaoke bars

Melbourne bars with board games

29th Apartment
  • Bars
  • St Kilda

If you've ever wanted to live in New York, 29th Apartment is probably the closest thing to it in Melbourne. The NY apartment-themed cocktail bar and music venue is located right in the middle of Fitzroy Street in St Kilda. Head over to claim a spot near the exposed brick wall, split a bottle of red with your mates and play a few rounds of board games. While you're waiting for a go on the giant Jenga board, take advantage of the cheap drink deals like the two-for-one cocktail special on Saturdays and the $5 house drinks on Wednesdays. 

The Alderman
  • Bars
  • Brunswick East

This quirky Lygon Street wine bar manages to feel super cosy and sophisticated at the same time. The Art Deco-inspired interior complete with dark wood panelling on the walls makes you feel like you could be smoking a cigar with Jay Gatsby, but the cosy parlour complete with a fireplace gives it a homey feel. Pick out a classic board game and then sink into one of the couches beside the fire.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Melbourne
  • price 1 of 4

Despite the name, Good Heavens isn’t a pearl-clutching kind of place. From the moment the doors open, local suits and bar hunters with their fingers on the pulse start staking their claim on the precious rooftop real estate above Fancy Hank's. Fight for a spot or simply laugh and observe as they lord over Bourke Street while Hawaiian shirt-clad staff shake up vintage tipples at the central island bar. There are board games and card games available for you to play while you sip.

The Alehouse Project
  • Bars
  • Brunswick

With board games as well as the odd trivia night, you'll feel right at home in this quiet, beer-loving sanctuary. Play a few rounds of Jenga or Connect Four while you taste a new craft beer from the extensive tap list. The bar menu features plenty of burgers and loaded fries. 

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The Fox
  • Bars
  • Collingwood

With pool tables and ping pong, a night at this much-loved Collingwood watering hole can quickly turn from a relaxed brew with friends to the ultimate showdown. For those with an overdeveloped competitive streak, stick with a friendly game of Scrabble. 

Katuk
  • Bars
  • South Yarra

We're well aware that even one round of Connect Four can get very real, very fast: and so is the crew at South Yarra's Katuk. These guys run tournaments from time to time (go diagonal! No one expects diagonal!), but mostly, they encourage casual games in their cute cubby out back.

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The Rooks Return
  • Bars
  • Fitzroy
  • price 1 of 4

There’s a whole cupboard of board games waiting for you at Brunswick Street’s speakeasy. It’s the kind of place where you’d happily while away a Sunday afternoon in a shabby, low-lit booth, with a chessboard and cocktails made just the way the bartenders like them.

Melbourne bars with arcade games

Bartronica
  • Bars
  • Melbourne

Pick from free-play or coin-operated arcade machines, stake out the Nintendo 64 or rest between fighting marathons on the comfy couches dotted around this cavernous, mainly underground space. Bartronica holds singles' nights and fiercely competitive tournaments (the most recent Mario Kart tournament was won on the final turn of the final race); top scores are immortalised (for one night) on the chalk board. There's even a beer garden that pretends it's in New York. Game on.

  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • Melbourne

B. Lucky and Sons is one part bar, one part adults-only arcade where you can drink a spiked bubble tea while shooting aliens on a giant, two-person version of Space Invaders. The flashy-flashy outside continues inside but now it’s the games themselves lighting up the room. Take your pick from nostalgic faves like Dance Dance Revolution and Mario Kart, or try your luck at winning a prize from a claw machine or spinning wheel. 

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Pixel Alley
  • Bars
  • Fitzroy

The part-bar, part-arcade takes over the location where Los Barbudos, a Cuban-themed watering hole, used to be. Framed photos of Cuban baseball legends has been replaced by an 8-bit mural of '80s retro icons including Pac-Man, Nike Air Jordans, and a boombox. Those familiar with old-school arcade classics can expect tipsy rounds of Daytona, Street Fighter II, Pac-Man and Buck Hunter. Rounds of beer while you wait your turn at the games are encouraged – a pot or pint of the Bastard Son Pale Ale will also come with a game token. 

Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq
  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • Docklands

The first things to note about Archie Brothers is that it’s like stepping into a neon-hued vaudevillian dream. It’s a little bit Blade Runner if Blade Runner were PG-rated and extremely good looking on the ‘gram. The entire complex is decked out with nostalgia-inducing ways to entertain yourself, from arcade games to theme park rides. Challenge your mates to a round of Mario Kart or hit the road for real (sort of) with a turn on the Dodgem Cars. There’s a grand total of 67 arcade games to try out, as well as bowling and an interactive XD motion theatre. 

How about a drink with a view?

Or sing your lungs out

  • Nightlife

'Total Eclipse of the Heart'. 'Rock Lobster'. 'Someone Like You'. 'Man! I Feel Like a Woman!'. What do these songs have in common? They're all A-grade songs – weapons, if you will – that will help you absolutely slay your next karaoke set and leave your fellow singers gasping. We've chosen our favourite places to let loose, mic in hand, from private rooms to public bars.  

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