Hate sitting on a bar stool for long? There are countless places where you can get your game on while sipping your favorite craft brew or local spirit.
“I think the growing trend of games in bars is mostly attributed to the younger generations, who are way more here for experiences than things,” said Erica Ambrose, manager of the Lafayette Brewing Company. “People these days want a place where they can go and do something, not just buy something.”
In a world full of social media posts and constant texts, it’s refreshing to throw in some experiences that force bargoers to set down their phones and enjoy a board or arcade game together.
“Buffalo loves drinking and sometimes you want to do more than sit on a barstool,” explains Josh Mullin, manager of Thin Man. “Especially in the winter months, it’s great to get out of the house and be (remotely) active.”
Here’s a go-to list for game bars in Buffalo and beyond.
359 Ganson St., Buffalo
This venue takes bar games to another level. In addition to traditional diversions like pinball, arcade games and bubble hockey, there are seasonal activities like ice skating, curling and a ropes course. Order the tater tot poutine or beef on weck dip to snack on before challenging your friends or kids to a game.
The Burning Buffalo
1504 Hertel Ave., Buffalo
With a selection of board games like Scrabble and Candyland, Jenga and more, kids are welcome during the day. Save the Cards for Humanity for after dinner, when adults take over. Why the games? “It adds a layer to the experience of going out and lends to making connections and creating memories,” said owner George Kotsis.
Community Beer Works
520 7th St., Buffalo
CBW has pinball, shuffleboard, board games and even occasional old-school video game nights with Super Nintendos…which means there’s plenty to do while you’re sipping on your beer flight and snacking on chicken and waffles, soft pretzels with beer cheese and totchos (tater tots covered with crispy bacon, cheddar cheese, jalapenos and smoky garlic cream sauce). Kiddos are welcome, but at night the bar is adults-only.
Lafayette Brewing Company
391 Washington St., Buffalo
Families are more than welcome at the LBC. “Being a part of the iconic Lafayette Hotel, we see a ton of different guests from all over the world and a lot of them are families in town for weddings and such,” said manager Erica Ambrose. “We welcome kids of all ages, as long as a parent or guardian is with them, and we have a full kids menu.” In the back, find a bar with pool table, two dart boards, foosball, pinball machines and a full size shuffleboard table. There are also board games including Scattergories, Jenga, Trivial Pursuit, Connect 4 and Cards Against Humanity.
521 Main St. Buffalo
The iconic pink stairs at this authentic Japanese alley restaurant lead to an array of classic arcade games that include Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Rampage, Donkey Kong, Centipede, vintage skeeball and five pinball machines (KISS, Metallica, Walking Dead, Iron Maiden and AC/DC).
Pearl Street Grill & Brewery
76 Pearl St., Buffalo
Take your craft beer, free popcorn and other bar faves and head up to the second floor to find pool tables, pinball (including a Walking Dead themed-machine), darts, bubble hockey and air hockey to keep you entertained.
Thin Man Brewery
492 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo
Craft beer master Thin Man offers multiple patios open in season, live music and, of course, games. Highlights are skeeball, foosball, darts, bubble hockey, pinball and even some board games like Battleship, Connect 4 and Candyland. After 9 p.m., the bar is 21+, but during the day kids are welcome.
Diversions in the ‘burbs
25 Pine St., East Aurora
In the tap room at 42 North you’ll find everything from Yahtzee and Apples to Apples to a huge 23-foot shuffleboard, the room’s focal point. Customers can enjoy craft beer and cider while playing Backgammon or Scrabble, or cornhole on the outdoor patio in season. It’s also kid-friendly. “Saturday and Sunday afternoons, the taproom is filled with young families,” said owner John Cimperman.
Dave & Buster’s
Walden Galleria, Cheektowaga
Dave & Buster’s has no shortage of games, and the vibe is totally family friendly. In addition to bowling lanes you’ll find ticket-redemption games like the coin push, Wheel of Fortune, Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots, basketball, air hockey and much more. Head to the bar to make the cacophony of lights and sound more bearable.
Lloyd Taco Factory
5933 Main St., Williamsville
Lloyd’s Williamsville location offers a wall of pinball machines, some old school arcade games like Pac-Man and even a virtual reality golf game. Family friendly, let the kids play games while you sip a cocktail and nosh on some tacos.
Eastern Hills Mall, Williamsville
Rocky’s has spinning bumper cars, basketball, Whack a Minion, Pac-Man, shooting games and much more. With easy parking and suburban proximity, it’s a great alternative to downtown arcade bars, and definitely family friendly.
Story topics: BufFYI