9 Great Bars With Activities In Philadelphia
photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO
If you want a night on the town but don’t have the dance moves, or you need a place where an off-the-rails date can get back on track, a list of bars with activities is a necessity. We put together a list of the bars that go above and beyond–we’re talking about more than just darts and a pool table. These are our favorite places to grab good cocktails, mimic Mariah in karaoke, and get weirdly competitive during Pictionary.
We’re not sure if Fishtown’s Brooklyn Bowl is more of a bowling alley with a concert space or a concert venue that happens to have some lanes, but either way, it’s a great place to spend your night. You can come here for a hang with drinks and catch Questlove on the drums, or to try your hand at bowling (there are plenty of first come, first served lanes to choose from). When it comes to the menu, you can expect boozy shakes, burgers and fries, cheesy flatbreads, and other shareable options like fried chicken wing platters big enough for four. Bring your friends, sip on margaritas, and avoid the gutter balls.
Spin is like an amusement park for adults, packed with ping pong tables, a DJ, and multiple bars. The Center City spot has an industrial vibe, and is covered in Philly murals and graffiti art. It’s a great place to bite into a juicy burger, short rib and cheddar-loaded nachos, and channel your inner Serena Williams. There are local beers on tap, decent pizza, and TVs everywhere—including near tables in case you feel like shifting from your own game to the Flyers’.
At Spring Garden’s Libertee Grounds, you can play mini golf, oversized Jenga, or board games in a setting that’s a lot better than your apartment. They have a large draft and cocktail list, and a lamb cheesesteak and a crispy Laotian rice roll that we can’t get enough of. Plus, with games like Battleship and Cards Against Humanity on standby—after you dominate the course—you can prove you’re best golfer AND the wittiest friend in the group.
Yakitori Boy doesn’t only make this list because you can belt out Journey here without shame. The Chinatown karaoke pub with a second-floor lounge also has a selection of roasted skewers, sushi rolls, and sweets (like the mango cheesecake) that we just can’t get enough of. Try the crispy chicken cutlet–the curry sauce is so good that you might end up missing your cue trying to sop up the last drop.
Here’s the bad news–everyone in Philadelphia knows about Fishtown’s Frankford Hall. That means it’s crowded on every sunny summer day, and a go-to spot even during the winter when the backyard is full of heaters and fire pits. The good news, though, is that the space is so big that you won't wait long before enjoying a beer, Bavarian pretzels, wiener schnitzel, and sausages at the long communal tables. It’s got some of the best beer hall food in the city, along with a few Jenga sets and lawn games that are always making their way around the patio.
A lot of sports bars are dark and have about as much space as a shipping container, but Garage is none of those things (don’t let the name fool you). Both locations (in Fishtown and East Passyunk) are large, airy spaces with garage doors that are thrown open as soon as the temperature hits 60, and have one of the biggest selections of canned beers in the city. The TV situation is ideal (there’s eight of them and a massive screen in the center), and when the Eagles game goes to a commercial break, you can pass the time at the skeeball machines or pool tables.
If you’re still searching for the thrill you’ve been missing since youth basketball camp, University City’s The Post is for you. In addition to the multiple TVs behind the bar, there are Sixers-themed mini-basketball games, air hockey tables, and a few skeeball machines. And with murals of Jason Kelce, Allen Iverson, and Gritty on the wall, there’s no better place to sip on drinks and watch the scoreboards when any of the teams are in action. There’s a full bar with a few local brews on tap, and they serve pretty good shrimp po’ boys and crispy sweet chili wings, covered in a peppery glaze.
There are plenty of bars with pool tables, darts, and everything a coordinated person needs to prove they lettered in something during high school. It’s only fair that people with iffy hand-eye coordination get a spot to gloat about how they kept their “x” in Scrabble to destroy you. That’s where Fairmount’s Thirsty Dice comes in. Although it’s an all-day cafe, they have a full bar serving up classic cocktails, beers on tap, and even some boozy milkshakes. Whichever drink you choose, pair it with an order of the crunchy garlic parm wings and shrimp tacos with a cheesy elote breading before you hit the Monopoly board. There are over 80 games to choose from, so you’ll have plenty of options when you grab a comfortable spot in the corner and plan your night of domination.
We love hanging out at Queen & Rook. Open until midnight on the weekends, it’s a great place to have a glass of wine or beer, plant-based food (we like the kimchi burgers and tamari-glazed Brussels sprouts), and live out our Queen’s Gambit fantasies. The Society Hill restaurant and bar has an endless number of puzzles and board games for a competitive date night where you can let bizarre questions that come up during Guess Who dictate if you’re ever going to meet up again.