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The Super Bowl is coming up. You are not playing in the Super Bowl. In fact, you’re most likely not playing in any game televised on any television in any bar. That doesn’t mean you have to do things like have a conversation or make eye contact. Never! Play games! Arcade games, board games, games of skill AND games of chance! Mostly games of skill.

Below is a nearly comprehensive list of bars worth visiting for all of your darting, billiarding (not a word), board gaming, skeeballing and more needs. We do not list every pool hall because pool halls are not bars, they are pool halls. Ditto with arcades and Dave & Busters and other places where corporate retreats are hosted.

PSA before we dig in: into organized bar sports? Check out our friends at United Social Sports who have all your skeeball to bocce ball to volleyball needs covered.


Now for the bars:

Argonaut – Darts, Poker

Argonaut is one of those bars you wish there was more of in D.C. There is a solid on-tap selection that transcends the basics but is not intimidating, there is a Wings night, and a Taco night and the nachos are BIG, and there’s a few TVs if sports is your thing but they’re not so overwhelmingly there to ruin your day/night if sports are NOT your thing, and the brunch is surprisingly solid AND no one cares why you’re there and how long you’re planning to hang out for. Now, in terms of GAMES, it depends what you think bar games are: there is a trivia night (AND SCIENCE NIGHT!) and a poker night (Mondays) and I personally consider having a jukebox to be a bar game but if you’re in the mood to have one of those shuffleboard-then-pool-then-more-shuffleboard-then-whatever nights, this isn’t your best bet. Which is ok, because it serves its purpose perfectly otherwise. -Svetlana Legetic

Atlas Arcade – Arcade Games

Most people making the trek to Toki Underground have their favorite spot to wait for their table to open. Always opt for Atlas. Except on Mondays. Or before 7pm Tuesday through Friday. But, when you hit that sweet spot, TMNT, Donkey Kong, Cruisin’: Exotica, Super Mario Bros., and plenty more are yours to play. Just bring enough quarters. – Brandon Weight


Atomic Billiards – Arcade Games, Billiards, Board Games, Darts, Shuffleboard

If you’re in Cleveland Park and can’t make it to Bedrock Billiards, Atomic is a perfectly fine place to play a game of pool or shuffleboard. If you want to kill some time before a movie at the Uptown or a reservation at Ripple, it’s a good place to waste 30 minutes. -Brandon Wetherbee

Bedrock Billiards – Billiards, Darts, Shuffleboard

I’m a big fan of this Adams Morgan basement bar. It’s the best place to hide. There is no cell reception. Text messages sometimes come in. If you just want to play darts like you’re hiding from your parents or play a game of pool like you’re hiding from your parents (I didn’t have a cell phone in high school so I played a lot of darts and pool while hiding from parents), you can’t do better than Bedrock. You can bring in food and Astor Mediterranean, one of the best places for pizza in D.C., is just a few doors down. If you don’t mind sharing an ungodly amount of germs from playing darts/pool/shuffleboard while eating pizza, welcome to heaven. -Brandon Wetherbee

The Big Hunt -Skeeball

If you’re ever with someone who turns his or her nose up at Big Hunt, congratulations, you make poor choices in companionship. Big Hunt is the jewel of Dupont. It’s a little – OK, a lot – tacky, and the bathroom situation is spicious, but it has everything you want out of a bar. The booths are worn in and comfortable. It’s deceptively huge when it’s operating on all cylinders – both downstairs bars, the upstairs pool overhang, the outside deck. The beer list has remained mostly on-point since Dave Coleman left to start 3 Stars. And the close proximity to Douche Mecca Public Bar reminds you that you could be somewhere much, much worse. -Phil Runco

Black Cat – Billiards, Bowling, Pinball

It’s used to be easy to forget the Black Cat has gaming options. Most of the time spent at the venue/bar/restaurant was spent listening to music/drinking with friend/eating. But there is that bowling game that’s like shuffleboard and a pool table that’s kinda, sorta hidden and recently, a room full of pinball games. It’s like the venue is now a theme bar for gaming, except without all of the annoying traits that come with themed bars. -Brandon Wetherbee



The Board Room – Board Games

The place for board games in D.C. It’s in their name. The selection is excellent and updated regularly. The downside is you have to pay a few bucks to play, unlike most of the bars in this guide. It’s not a lot of money and the bar is made for board games, so it’s going to find a better place to play Don’t Break The Ice. Another bar that allows outside food with an excellent selection of draft beers, it’s hard to find a better place for a large group of people that really want to play board games. -Brandon Wetherbee

Breadsoda – Billiards, Board Games, Shuffleboard

I am definitely a little biased, because Breadsoda is my old neighborhood bar, but it’s a great place to get drunk and watch your friends embarrass themselves over a game of pool (or maybe shuffleboard if you’re feeling geriatric). They even have board games, so you can show off your mental prowess by destroying those closest to you in scrabble. On top of that they have surprisingly good food and very solid beers. All in all, it’s excellent place for drunkenly screaming at your friends over a game of backgammon. -Kaylee Dugan

Buffalo Billiards – Billiards

How many pool tables can you fit in one place? The answer is Buffalo Billiards in Dupont Circle. Why is it named Buffalo Billiards? My guess is because it’s technically underground. Remember, in Silence of the Lambs Buffalo Bill kept his kidnapped ladies in a hole he dug in this basement? I think Buffalo Billiards is named after Buffalo Bill. Both are weirdly focused on balls. I’d go there for a good game of pool. -Jenn Tisdale

Galaxy Hut

Galaxy Hut would be a great bar anywhere: fantastic beer selection; an egalitarian ordering system; a flattering lack of lighting; arcade game tables; tatter tots in a bucket. But it’s not just anywhere – it’s in Clarendon, the Douche Bermuda Triangle, where good nights just magically disappear. (No disrespect to Iota.) So, its value it is exponentially jacked up, like bottled water inside a airport terminal. -Phil Runco

H Street Country Club – Arcade Games, Mini Golf, Shuffleboard, Skeeball

What constitutes the H Street Country Club crowd Thursday through Saturday? A gaggle of Jonads. What What constitutes the H Street Country Club upstairs and rear bar area? The only permanent mini golf course in Washington, D.C., Big Buck Hunter, shuffleboard and Skeeball. Avoid the former to enjoy the latter. – Brandon Weight


Iron Horse Tap Room – Skeeball, Video Games

Definitely not a dive bar, the Iron Horse Taproom is also not some tourist trap, which it could easily be with its location in Penn Quarters nearby the Verizon Center. The beer selection is more than adequate—featuring frequent tap takeovers—and best of all they have a large basement area, which gives you all more room for activities than you’re heart could desire. Basements were made for bar sports. How you wish your childhood basement came equipped with Skeeball and Big Buck Hunter. –Zeke Leeds


Kangaroo Boxing Club – Board Games

I hate games. Games are for when you’re married and forgot how to hang out so you have a white wine fueled round of taboo and go to bed at 9. But at KBC there’s seriously good meat. So whatever. I’ll play there. -Andrew Bucket

Lyman’s Tavern – Pinball

I’m kind the kind of Pinball Wizard that is not deaf, dumb or blind. I tilt Pinball machines like it’s my job. If you like an atmosphere filled with the sweet sounds of pinballs getting smashed then you’ll love Lyman’s. Every night is like the 70’s! And if you’re anything like me, someone will order chicken wings and put them on your tab. This happened to me once at Lyman’s but I’m a forgiving gal who loves a solid game of pinball so I’ll go back. -Jenn Tisdale


Meridian Pint – Billiards, Shuffleboard

Unless you’ve had to go to the bathroom downstairs at Meridian Pint, you may have never known that pool tables existed there. And indeed, surrounded by TV’s, you will find them there. Try not to jab folks at the nearby yard-long high tops, and you’ll have earned the right to drink from one of the best beer selections in DC. – Brandon Weight

Nellie’s – Darts

Sports are a game of skill, and what greater skill is there than that of darts? Where can you find darts? Nellie’s. What are darts you ask? HA. Darts are like archery but smaller. If you’re into Robin Hood, The Hunger Games, and every awkward summer camp scene in your favorite 80’s teen movie, then darts are the way to go. I can think of no better way to spend an evening than standing in front of a corkboard and throwing sewing needles at it. Pure magic. -Jenn Tisdale


Penn Social – Arcade Games, Board Games, Shuffleboard, Skeeball, all of the games

Someone put all the games into this one bar, even games you didn’t think were possible. They have a GIANT Connect 4 game. It’s like something out of Alice in Wonderland, that game of Connect 4 drank something, or ate something, either way it’s too big. Things that are too small or are too big are always amusing (people, animals, etc…). At times it can be a bit confusing because there might be some form of entertainment when all you really want to do is play a kickass game of skeeball, but all you have to do is block it out and win. Life is about winning. This bar is about winning. -Jenn Tisdale


Red Derby – Board Games

This bar is so dark. How would you play board games? You should play games here if you love to cheat. If you’re the kind of lady or fella who cuts corners and plays to win then you GOTTA play all your board games here. Do what I do, snag Monopoly money when no one is looking then trot it out just when you’re about to go bankrupt. I think that’s how Comcast works. PLUS, they have a lovely rooftop where you can eat which is a nice way to end an evening of dishonest game-playing. -Jenn Tisdale


Rock & Roll Hotel – Pinball

Please, please find the person who goes to Rock and Roll Hotel just for the pinball. On a Saturday. At 1 am. Because maybe this person exists. Maybe behind the three initials at the top of the high score charts there exists a person that goes to Ben’s Chili Bowl for the hamburgers, to Gamestop for Monster Energy drinks , and to RNR for pinball. What’s more punk rock than that? – Brandon Weight

Rocket Bar – Billiards, Darts, Video Games

If you’re going to pregame for a Caps or Wizards game, go to Rocket Bar. If you’re going to pregame for an animated Disney movie, go to Rocket Bar. In either situation, you’re probably going to want cheap beer, the shortest walk to the entrance, more cheap beer, and the cheapest beer in Chinatown. The darts and billiards are just a plus. Or a place to rest cheap beer. – Brandon Weight

Satellite Room – Pinball

I didn’t even know this bar had any kind of games (there are pinball games to the left of the entrance -ed.) but maybe that’s because I always spend at least 10 minutes waiting for the bathroom? Don’t get me wrong, there are enough bathrooms, but each bathroom is a unisex bathroom so I’m usually in a line 10 to 15 folks deep while a Satellite Room employee guides us in and out of the restroom. Help is always appreciated. Other than that I enjoy the “vibe” of this bar immensely. It’s next to the 9:30 Club but you would never know it. There are adults there and lots of them! Plus they have a nice covered outside that is lovely all year. I give it 2 thumbs up. I would definitely play some kind of game there. -Jenn Tisdale


Smoke & Barrel – Arcade Games, Skeeball, Video Games

What’s the difference between arcade games and video games? The basement of Smoke & Barrel has an NBA Jam/NFL Blitz combo arcade game and the one booth has a TV with an original Nintendo with Mike Tyson’s Punchout and/or Dr. Mario. The best beet bar in Adams Morgan + video games + arcade games + mini skeeball = excellent night out, as long as you don’t mind loud noises. -Brandon Wetherbee


Trusty’s – Board Games

Trusty’s is one of those bars you wish there were more of in D.C. A little dirty, sort of hilarious, with a whole Party Platter section on the menu, a very solid 3 napkin burger called The Ol’Reliable and a BUS THEMED BAR upstairs (totally real and totally where we should all be having our next birthday party), drink specials around all the DC United games (2 hours before and after too), a good trivia night AND a stack of board games ready for the taking. Stop in, grab a beer in a mason jar, open a box of Barrel O’Monkeys and feel instantly at home. PRO TIP: The smell of fried everything lingers though – so keep the extra fancy coat home. -Svetlana Legetic