As an avid fan of cheap entertainment, I’m always on the hunt for bars that feature games of the drunken competitive variety. When some people think of bar games, they envision a lone patron, hogging the stool playing erotic photohunt. Or large groups that play pool all night and shoot you dirty looks because your drink is in the way of their 6 foot long pool cue. Bitching aside, there are plenty of old-fashioned bar games to be found outside of Big Buck Hunter.
Normally a lighthearted game filling rec rooms with joy across the country can get ugly, fast. If you’re in the city, Manitoba’s is the way to go. Past the punk memorabilia and head downstairs for full-on air hockey action. For Brooklyn dwellers, check out one of my favorite dive bars, Rockstar Bar. It features a glowing machine next to a cave-like dwelling that looks like a set from Fraggle Rock. But if you’re sitting on the sidelines, beware of flying pucks.
The basement of Fat Cat is like a Dave & Busters minus everything that’s lame. There’s ping pong, billiards, shuffleboard, scrabble, chess, you name it. And it’s a jazz bar to boot. Fuel your competitive prowess with cheap beers and stick around for the speak-easy vibe. Squeeze in some backyard ping-pong while it’s still warm at Iona, otherwise known as, magnet for hot European ex-pats. It’s a spacious backyard big enough for a friendly game, but avoid at all costs during “football” season, otherwise you will get death stares for interrupting the match.
Skee ball & Beyond
You don’t have to schlep it to Coney Island anymore for this shoreline favorite. You can ‘skee’ to your heart’s content at Hugs bar and finish up with a photobooth sticker to document your victory face. For other high-rollers, there’s duck pin bowling at the Brownstone Billiards. Being a sports bar it can be a bit noisy, but with huge pitchers of cheap beer and pretty decent bar food it can sometimes be worth it. For those of you unfamiliar with duckpin bowling, it’s really just a smaller version of regular bowling with some new rules. They also have karaoke on Sundays to round-off a day’s full of activities.
And for the pinball wizards of Brooklyn, check out the North Brooklyn Pinball Directory for listings of some awesome and ancient machines scattered across the borough.
Let the games begin.