There’s something to be said for posting up in a dive with some friends for conversation over a few drinks, but when that’s all you do, nightlife can get a bit stale. Why not mix it up by throwing something into your regular bar rotation that has a little more to offer? Forget a dusty stack of old board games; you can find anything from old school arcade games to full blown bowling alleys on a night out in Brooklyn.
Activity-based bars are perfect for distracting from the awkward silences of a Tinder date, watching your most competitive friend fumble after a few shots, or even just blowing off steam during happy hour. Here are some of the most loved activity bars in the borough!
If you fall into the majority of people who haven’t seen an indoor shuffleboard court, you will most likely be in awe of Royal Palms. If you’ve never played, don’t be intimidated, they’ll give you instructions. Not only do they have an impressive shuffleboard set-up, but they also have awesome drinks and food. If you fall in love with the game, you can assemble your own team of 4–10 people and join their league for $500, which includes free court time and cheap beer for 10 weeks as you go up against other shuffleboard enthusiasts.
Most of us who are of drinking age have some memory of the glory days of arcades. Though arcades are few and far between these days, Barcade is the perfect place to take a trip down memory lane with some of the classics — they have everything from Galaga to Terminator pinball. If you’re in it for the glory, know that they post high scores on their website. Not only is their selection of classic arcade games impressive, their beer list is no joke: they have well over 20 bars on tap, some of which are exclusive Barcade collabs with craft breweries.
These sister bars are every Brooklyn bocce lover’s go-tos. Both have an antique loungey feel and free bocce for all. Courts are first come first serve, and once again, those who become hooked on bocce can join their competitive league for $20 per person. In addition to bocce, Union Hall is also a venue that hosts musical acts and some pretty well known comedians.
If you desire a classic bowling beverage, fear not: Gutter Bar does serve pitchers of beer. But unlike most classic bowling alleys, Gutter also has a full bar, a performance space for bands and comedians, *and *a happy hour Monday-Friday for 2-for-1 bowling. There’s a second location in Long Island City, for all of you Queens folks!
Covenhoven has everything you need for a chill evening with your friends — a selection of board games that can keep you entertained for hours, a jaw-dropping selection of local and craft beers and really great pub fare. Make sure to check out one of their trivia nights — along with their gorgeous patio, they’re a big part of what has made Covenhoven a neighborhood staple.
Walking into Brooklyn Bazaar is like walking into another world. Its vintage decor creates the perfect setting for the grown-up playground that it is. All bases are covered- they have ping pong, pool, video games and a mini golf setup unlike any other. It’s also a music venue that hosts popular acts, a disco, and a karaoke bar. Did I mention that they have food, too? There is something for everyone here, and zero chance of boredom.
Despite the name, there is nothing fancy about the Bushwick Country Club, but that’s what makes it awesome. It’s mini golf course matches it’s divey aesthetic perfectly, and if you’re not into golf, there’s always Buck Hunter. Plus, they have an old school photo booth with actual film and it’s dog friendly, which is more than most real country clubs can say.
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Photos courtesy of Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, Barcade, Floyd, Gutter Bar, Covenhoven, Brooklyn Bazaar, and Bushwick Country Club.