Bar games are a great way to pass the time when you’re out with friends. But it’s important to pick ones which are entertaining without being disruptive to the other customers.
With that in mind, let’s go over a gaggle of great bar games that are straightforward to set up and play, as well as offering endless fun.
In recent years the rise of nostalgia-driven games to play at the bar has really helped to mix things up. So if you are a fan of classic board games, don’t be afraid to take one with you and perhaps invite your pals to do the same for a night of booze-based, old-school japes.
There are plenty of options out there in this category, with Battleship and Guess Who? being two excellent examples because of their self-contained nature and portability.
You might even be able to find a bar where board games are available in-house, so check locally if traditional games like this are your bag.
A pack of cards is one of the most versatile things you can take with you to play at a bar, because it’s supremely pocketable and opens up a world of different game types to explore.
If you’re simply going to a bar solo or waiting for friends to arrive, playing solitaire is always enjoyable. If you’ve got a group together, then certain types of poker are perfect for a quick round of casual play, with five card draw being the speediest and simplest of the bunch.
If you prefer a more modern, standalone card game experience, then you are also spoilt for choice. Perhaps the most sociable and silly of the lot is Cards Against Humanity, which has been a staple of group gaming fun for over a decade.
Chances are that everyone in your friendship circle will have a modern smartphone with them when visiting the bar. So rather than just sitting there together and separately scrolling through your social media feeds, why not make use of the gaming capabilities these devices provide?
Party games like Heads Up are a good shout for bar-based antics in a group, or you could join forces in fast-paced action titles like Apex Legends; just be careful not to spill your drinks with any flailing elbows!
If you’ve got a group of particularly geeky buddies, then bringing along a dedicated portable console like the all-conquering Nintendo Switch is appealing. There are games which support local multiplayer, such as Mario Kart 8, and can be enjoyed on the go in any setting.
Sometimes you’ll need to choose a bar, not because of its beer line-up, its location, or its atmosphere, but because of the in-house games, it offers to patrons.
Plenty of drinking holes have games laid on for customers, and there are plenty of classics which are still seriously fun even after all these years. Pool, darts, air hockey and foosball are all in this category, although of course, for the most part, you’ll need to look at larger bars which have enough floor space free to dedicate to the equipment involved.
If no such games are available, you can always make your own basic game with nothing more than a coin from your wallet. Shove ha’penny is a game which originated in the UK, and you can recreate it with a flat table surface and a penny, with two players sitting opposite one another and attempting to knock the penny from their side to that of their opponent’s, without it falling onto the floor.
This is another game type which is dependent on the venue rather than the customers, but the good news is that arcade machines are beginning to reappear in more and more bars, feeding once more on the nostalgic status they’ve attained in the time since they fell out of fashion.
Multiplayer arcade games are obviously best if you are with other people, and you’ll need to make sure you’ve got enough change on hand to keep them well fed with quarters so that the fun doesn’t stop.
One final point to make is that you shouldn’t try to force games on other people you visit the bar with; try to get a sense of the vibe and ask your friends if they fancy playing, rather than trying the regiment the fun too much.
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