Games are great for alleviating the pressure of a first date, entertaining visiting relatives, and having some laughs with a group of friends. So is booze. Combine the two and a fun night is in store. A number of local bars in Philly have figured this out. This is more than just Jenga towers tumbling off high-top tables (though there’s plenty of that too) — local watering holes have installed ping pong tables, virtual reality systems, arcade games, board game libraries, axe throwing lanes, and more. Order a few drinks, some fried food, and let the good times roll at these interactive venues.Read More
Play Games at These 10 Activity-Filled Philly Bars
Throw axes, play ping pong, or show off your pinball skills, beer in hand
In Center City, it’s always party time at Spin, where ping pong amateurs and aficionados compete on 17 Olympic-sized ping pong tables while a DJ provides the soundtrack. Instagrammers will enjoy the art-covered walls and the bathtub full of ping pong balls that’s just made for photo ops. There’s also a big central bar, a smaller second bar, and a menu of snacks, sandwiches, and flatbreads.
Over 800 board games reside in the library of Philly’s first board game cafe, Thirsty Dice. There’s also a full bar with a dozen local drafts and cocktails with on-theme names, like Shandy Land, plus an espresso bar, milkshakes, and a menu of comfort foods like French bread pizza, mac and cheese, and popcorn.
Drinking while bowling is a time-honored tradition. South Bowl in South Philly — and North Bowl in Northern Liberties — ups the ante with a full bar and an extensive food menu that includes eats like loaded tater tots and funnel cake fries. New this year is an outdoor area with batting cages, bocce, and other games.
Queen & Rook
Board game cafe Queen & Rook is open in Queen Village with a vegetarian menu, coffee, a tight selection of beer, wine, and cocktails, and shelves piled with more than 1,000 games. Food options include bar bites like nachos, blistered shishito peppers, jackfruit or Korean tempeh tacos, and mozzarella sticks, along with a kids’ menu and desserts.
Kick Axe Throwing
Axe throwing venues are popping up in cities across the country. In Philly they’re usually BYOB, but hipster hunting lodge Kick Axe has a bar serving beer and wine. Don’t worry (too much): An “Axe Pro” is assigned to each group to ensure everyone stays safe while hurling sharp objects. You don’t have to be signed up for an axe session to head here since there’s also a lounge with board games.
Independence Beer Garden
In Old City, right near Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, the spacious Independence Beer Garden has multiple bars for ordering cocktails and beers, a food menu full of snacks and sandwiches, lawn games like cornhole, and giant board games, including an oversized Connect Four. It’s open in the warmer months.
For drinking mixed with family-friendly fun head to Craft Hall, an “indoor beer garden” with lawn games, vintage Nintendo video games, and a pirate ship–themed playground. The venue has a full kitchen, two bars, and seats for more than 500 people, and sells beer from Mainstay Independent Brewery and baked goods from Lost Bread Co., which are both based onsite.
Mad Rex Restaurant and Virtual Reality Lounge
This post-apocalyse–themed bar and restaurant in Fishtown includes a virtual reality lounge with a mix of artistic (go inside a Dali painting) and pseudo-dangerous (try out piloting a submarine or being a hitman) experiences. On-theme food and drink offerings include punch served in what looks like an IV bag and meat cooked on black lava rocks.
At Barcade in Fishtown, millennials will love the large 1980s and 1990s video game selection and mix of classic and modern pinball machines. Grab some upgraded bar food and tacos from the kitchen, which stays open until midnight, and one of nearly 20 beers brewed exclusively for the bar.
Golf & Social
Set near Dave & Buster’s and SugarHouse Casino, Golf & Social brings another entertainment venue to Delaware Avenue/Columbus Boulevard. Virtual golf simulators inside the bar recreate some of the world’s top courses, including St. Andrews, Pebble Beach, and Pinehurst. Sadly, there’s no bar cart, but there is a full bar, a food menu, and a roof deck.