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 (Photograph: Sophia Wallace)1/4
Photograph: Sophia WallaceAce Bar
 (Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson)2/4
Photograph: Caroline Voagen NelsonTwo-Bit’s Retro Arcade
 (Photograph: Lizz Kuehl)3/4
Photograph: Lizz KuehlMolasses Books
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Photograph: Alex StradaVideology

The best bars with games, Skee-Ball, trivia and other activities

Get out of your apartment and into these bars with games; they’re sure bets for alleviating any seasonal malaise.

By Tim Lowery

During the long, cold winter months, you’ll need a reason to get into warm clothes and leave your apartment. These bars with games offer just that: Grab some friends and head to a New York bar with books you can peruse, trivia you can play, or a plethora of pinball and video games.

RECOMMENDED: Best Winter cocktails and cozy bars in NYC

Ace Bar. shot on Sept 7, 2008 for Time Out. Photo Editor - Courtenay Kendall.
Sophia Wallace

Ace Bar

Bars Dive bars East Village

If besting your pals at a bevy of games is your thing, duck into this spacious 20-plus-year-old Alphabet City mainstay. The vibe is boozy rec room, with a young, loud crowd to match; there are two Skee-Ball lanes (a Thursday-night league starts at the end of January; visit, pool tables and dartboards, as well as pinball machines and Big Buck Hunter. Between bouts, grab one of 12 drafts—the Bitburger pilsner ($6) is a solid choice—and check out the retro lunchboxes (Muppets, The Dukes of Hazzard) lining the walls. 212-979-8476,

Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

Two-Bit’s Retro Arcade

Joystick addicts, take note: Since opening late last year, this Lower East Side spot has become a gamer haven, offering titles dating back to the ’80s (Pac-Man, Popeye, Final Fight, Donkey Kong), as well as pinball (Fun House, Twilight Zone). After you’ve grabbed a beer (like an Anchor Steam, $6.50), pause for a moment to admire the video-game-character illustrations inlaid in the bar. One tip: Try to make it here by early evening, before the lines to play become three dudes deep. 212-477-8161,

Molasses Books
Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

Molasses Books

This tiny bookshop-cum-café-cum-bar feels more like a well-lit hangout than a watering hole, attracting literary types and locals who prefer their tippling underscored by vintage records. (Bands such as rising rock trio Nude Beach are among the regulars.) You can pick up well-chosen $1 books and pricier first editions, then dive into your purchase at the bar while sipping a $3 Genny can or a $7 glass of vino. Stop by for Country Nite, happening every other Wednesday and featuring DJs spinning tunes by the likes of Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson.

Skinny Dennis

Bars Dive bars Williamsburg

Get a warm dose of down-home hospitality at this honky-tonk, which opened earlier this year on a bustling stretch of Metropolitan Avenue near the Williamsburg waterfront. Nab a Southern staple like a bottle of Lone Star ($4) or bourbon-spiked sweet tea with mint ($8) while enjoying gratis sets by country bands almost any night of the week. In between performances, keep your friends active with a round of shuffle bowling (a shuffleboard-bowling hybrid popular at bars in the Midwest and below the Mason-Dixon), or try naming all the hard-living music icons in the portraits scattered throughout the space.

Photograph: Alex Strada


Movie theaters Independent Williamsburg

Thirsty pop-culture fanatics flock to this Billyburg haunt, a video store that added a combination bar and screening room at the end of 2012. It’s perfect for TV fiends in particular: The joint screens currently airing hits (The Walking Dead) and hosts interactive movie-trivia nights and bingo matches tied to beloved series (Arrested Development, Twin Peaks). While racking your brain about which Bluth “blue himself” (come on!), sip a Sixpoint Sweet Action ($6) and snack on gourmet popcorn ($3–$5). 718-782-3468,


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