9 Great DC Bars & Restaurants With GamesBecause sometimes you just want to play.
Geoffrey the Giraffe told us all those years ago that growing up was the worst, but did we listen? No. So here we are paying bills and taking care of ourselves. And while fewer of us are playing with super soakers and Skip-Its (RIP Toys “R” Us), that doesn’t mean we have to quit being childlike all together. Go ahead and text this link to the homies because it’s time to turn the city into your adult playground—and maybe grab a little snack while you’re at it.
This Queer-owned bar in Capitol Hill has board games galore, perfect for the enthusiast who is looking for other folks to play with. The games range from a hip hop trivia card game to Villainous, a battle of Disney villains, and are all free to play. The main cafe area has a bunch of tables and mismatched chairs where you can compete. Grab a Hot Girl Shirl (a Shirley temple with blueberry vodka) or a Virgo’s Groove (with or without the alcohol), and let the games begin.
Adulting is hard. That beach vacation you thought you were going on is no longer in your budget, but Throw Social is. So toss on the hoochie daddies and some boat shoes and head to the Ivy City bar and lounge where you and the squad can toe the line between beach party and nightclub. Head to the second floor (there’s an elevator but it’s frequently broken so be prepared to climb) where you’ll find games like shuffleboard, giant Connect 4, and Cornhole, plus three bars, a covered patio, and a bunch of cabanas. The menu is very basic bar food—think pizza, nachos, and sliders—and while it's bland at best, the vibe is worth sacrificing a little food quality (especially if you’re going to be turnt). If you really wanna ratchet things up a notch, go on the weekends when there’s a live DJ playing any rap, R&B, or reggaeton song that’ll get you dancing.
If you’ve never been mini bowling, stop reading and head to The Eleanor in NoMa right now. The American bar and grill has two lanes that you can reserve for $10 a person for an hour, and you’ll be giggling at how tough it is to bowl tiny pins. This is where your big group of friends can come and hang out and play pinball during the half-priced Happy Hour while you wait for your lane to open up. Sharing food is ideal here, so get the General Tso’s wings, which are crunchy and have a subtle kick, and the corn ribs, which are a fun spin on elote.
Remember when all the arcades shut down because y’all all started playing video games at home? Well, luckily, there’s been a mini resurgence over the years—they’ve just added food and liquor to make it profitable. Boardwalk is special, though, because it feels like you’re Baby sneaking off to Patrick Swayze’s cabin, except you’re going to play DDR instead of “learning to ballroom dance”. There’s also basketball, pinball, and Skee-Ball, among other things, to play while you snack on pretzels, popcorn, and hot dogs at the Wharf.
We know you’ve never, ever, ever had a drink on the metro before, so here’s your chance. This year-round outdoor bar in Brentwood has a number of seating options, including some admittedly very tight tables inside an old 5000-series metro car that has been turned into a bar. There are also picnic tables and patio furniture scattered around the lot, alongside giant games like Connect 4 and Jenga, so you can sip on cocktails while you lounge and play. It’s a huge space that doesn’t require reservations, so head here for an after-work meetup or a Saturday darty.
While there are tons of Alice In Wonderland themed bars and restaurants, none feel quite as much like you’re fallen down a hole and emerged in a different world as Swingers (which is actually not Alice In Wonderland themed). When you walk downstairs at the Dupont Circle putt putt spot, you’ll emerge by the elaborate green course, complete with a mini food court and cocktail bar. Anybody who doesn’t want to play golf is welcome to just chill at the handful of tables near the small stalls of Kneadza Pizza, Mah Ze Dahr, Succotash, and TuTaco, while the rest of the group makes their way through the clocktower and waterwheel courses. Make sure to reserve your spot in advance, though, as walk-ins are limited and it gets packed, even on Monday nights.
Binge Bar feels more like a spa than a bar, from the cucumber water to the silent waves lapping on the television screens. But DC’s only nonalcoholic bar is the spot to play board games with your friends when you’re looking for something that’s not so rowdy. Grab Jenga or Uno, settle into a velvety chair at a small white table, and sip “tequila” mocktails.
The giant American bistro has bowling and Bocce ball, both of which you’ll find in the far back corner of the Georgetown spot. You can book either game for a minimum of an hour—and a waiter will bring you all the drinks and food you can order. In typical bowling alley fashion, you’re getting basic burgers, pizza, and wings, plus there’s also a pasta section (that you should avoid—the spaghetti is the exact reason people say you shouldn’t put sugar in the sauce.) Our favorite, though, are the juicy pigs in a blanket.
Union Market’s rooftop bar is the fake park you didn’t know you needed—and it comes with Cornhole, Jenga, and giant Yahtzee. Folks are laid out on the astroturf (you can BYO blanket or lawn chair) and sit at picnic tables with umbrellas (reserve these in advance). The best part about Hi-Lawn is the food options are endless since you can grab stuff from the stalls downstairs.