For a drink with a side of Ping-Pong, a beer-fueled Skee-ball session or a booze-addled break at one of the city’s best bowling alleys, these are the best places with bar games in New York City. Sure, a night out at one of New York’s best beer gardens, dive bars or cocktail bars is a good time in and of itself, but add the city’s best bar games to it and you’ve got a recipe for one legendary evening.
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Best bars with games in NYC
It’s the Sunshine State by way of Gowanus at this pastel-streaked Floridian playground, where shuffleboard revivalists Jonathan Schnapp and Ashley Albert have retooled lido-deck kitsch for beer-fisted millennials. At the 17,000-square-foot game hall, neck-tattooed skaters and fly girls dressed like Miley Cyrus gather over $40-an-hour rounds of biscuit and tang (shufflespeak for pucks and poles), forming a scene that’s as flamboyantly Boca as it is staunchly Brooklyn.
Upstairs in this bi-level bar, boozers chomp miniburgers and nip at microbrews like Sixpoint in the gentlemen’s-club–style anteroom (decorated with Soviet-era globes, paintings of fez-capped men, fireplaces)—before battling it out on the clay bocce courts. Downstairs, spectators are treated to a rotating roster of live talent, such as blaring bands, comedians and a monthly science night.
The addition to the Williamsburg bar scene adds a unique twist—eight bowling lanes. Special events like Monday night trivia at 7pm help draw in crowds not enticed enough by the combination of alcohol and hurling bulky objects.
It’s a bar. It’s an arcade. It’s Barcade! Thanks to a rotating selection of 20-plus beers on tap and more than 30 classic arcade consoles from the ’70s and ’80s (only 25¢ each), there’s plenty at this Williamsburg drinkery to keep you buzzed and busy. Bring friends and tag-team a two-player side-scroller like Contra or Final Fight. Or show up alone, order a McNeill’s Dead Horse IPA ($6) and set your sights on the Ms. Pac-Man high score (last time we played, it was 950,660). Be prepared—more popular games like Punch-Out!! and Donkey Kong might have lines.
Table tennis is a great game to play while drinking: It’s safer than darts (why do we play darts when we’re drunk?), and you’re likely to be on a level playing field with your friends. Grab a few pals and head to this 17-table Ping-Pong emporium and bar in Gramercy. Beers on tap are $7, or you could order something called “Mario Batali’s Meatball-tini” ($7). You can’t beat the service: Staff members bring drinks to your table and refill your bucket of balls, ensuring minimal play stoppage. Tables are $10 to $20 per half hour on weekdays, $30 to $40 per hour on weekends, and free Tuesdays and Wednesdays after 11pm.
This Skee-Ball-themed bar in Williamsburg is a haven for kitschy, nostalgia-driven boozing. The beer offerings skew cheap and cheerful, with five standard taps supplemented by 17 canned brews kept in ice-filled coolers behind the bar. Three-buck Genesee Cream Ale replaces PBR as the cheapo suds of choice, and a $4 beer-and-hot-dog combo serves as the snack of champions. Divey decor reflects the owners' commitment to the game—the bar is constructed from old Skee-Ball machine parts, and a TV up front plays a live feed of the action on the three ramps in the back ($1 per game).
At Park Slope’s Mission Dolores, order from the ever-changing list of top-notch draft beers ($4–$9) and try your luck at the Spider-Man or Attack from Mars machines (75¢/game, $2/three games). Die-hard pinball wizards can play at one of seven tables at tiny Williamsburg flipper mecca Satellite Lounge. Show up, shell out a fiver for a High Life and a well shot, and cram quarters into your machine of choice (currently including Batman and AC/DC; the games change every six weeks or so) for 50¢ to 75¢ a game.
With two each of pool tables ($1/game), dartboards ($10 refundable deposit), Skee-Ball lanes ($1/game) and pinball machines (75¢/game), Ace Bar is a great place to go with people you already know or would like to know better. You may have to wait it out for a pool table, but there’s ample space to swing a cue—and plenty to do in the meantime. The walls are lined with retro lunchboxes and kitschy horror memorabilia, and draft beers like Yuengling and Shock Top Belgian White are only $3 or $4 during happy hour (Mon–Fri 3–8pm; Sat, Sun 2–8pm).
In a beer scene dominated by hoppy, high-alcohol brews, credit this madcap watering hole for championing session beers, a family of brews whose lower booze content makes them ideal for extended drinking. Unlikely picks such as the 3-percent-ABV Berliner Weisse (Budweiser is 5 percent) will keep you buzzed but standing through an evening of shuffleboard. If you need something burlier, idiosyncratic draft and bottle options reflect the sharp eye of co-owner Dave Pollack. Try a treacle-kissed Carnegie Porter from Sweden or a figgy Prize Old Ale vintage from 1996.
Much like the basement of your coolest friend in high school, the Whiskey Brooklyn offers plenty of seating, lots to do and an ample stash of booze. The staff is friendly, and the overall vibe is homey, with exposed-brick walls and TVs showing (but not blaring) sports games. A glass of the light or dark house-made beer is only $5, but we’d suggest trying out one of the many whiskey cocktails on offer. Roll a few at one of two Skee-Ball lanes ($1/game) or try out gratis shuffleboard. There’s also a mini basketball hoop ($1/game) and that trigger-happy barroom classic, Big Buck Hunter ($2/game).