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Bocce ball at Vagabond.
Bocce ball at Vagabond.
Photo: Margo Sivin/EDFW

Game On: 12 Dallas Bars That Aren't Just For Drinking

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Bocce ball at Vagabond.
| Photo: Margo Sivin/EDFW

Drinking can certainly be an event in and of itself, but particularly now that the weather is nice, it's good to have some distractions — think giant Jenga, bowling, shuffleboard, video games, trivia and pool. Here are 12 Dallas bars that aren't just for drinking, whether you need a fun first date spot or just want to find a new "Sunday funday" hangout.


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Barcadia

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Barcadia is full of fun distractions, from vintage arcade games (think Street Fighter, Super Mario Bros. and Galaga) to skee-ball to giant Jenga on the patio. Plenty of beer options and tasty frozen drink specials make this a great warm weather hangout -- just beware the Jenga if you're wearing open-toed shoes, because those wooden blocks are heavy.

Bowlounge

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This Design District destination is a bowling alley first and foremost, but it also has a pretty awesome bar/lounge where you can get draft cocktails and boozy milkshakes (plus food by Twisted Root) and play Golden Tee or shoot some pool.

Bryan Street Tavern

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Besides having some of the city's best pizza and wings, this East Dallas staple also has plenty of ways to amuse while you throw back a cold local draft: Pool, shuffleboard, darts and a jukebox. The bar recently debuted a spacious new outdoor patio, but on hot days the cool, dark interior makes an excellent hideaway.

Elbow Room

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Shuffleboard isn't just for elderly cruiseline guests, you know. It requires a bit less coordination than say, pool, meaning you can play it with one hand while holding a stiff drink -- and this laid-back bar bordering Deep Ellum and East Dallas is a good place to do so. (Good pizza, too.)

The Foundry

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This Oak Cliff bar shares a massive compound with Chicken Scratch and is arguably one of the city's finest hangouts when the weather is nice. There's giant Jenga, a pool table inside, and you might even catch a live band on the outdoor stage -- plus there's a great selection of craft beer and you can head next door for fried chicken when you get hungry.

The Ginger Man

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A fantastic patio and amazing beer selection are the major draws at this charming Uptown pub, but there's also darts, board games and a very competitive Tuesday night trivia game.

Katy Trail Ice House

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This huge compound situated on jogger/biker mecca Katy Trail has an oddly engrossing bean bag toss game known as cornhole. Extremely cold beer and barbecue that's smoked on-site makes this a very popular Uptown destination, so expect it to be packed.

The Nodding Donkey

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This lively bar in the State-Thomas area has a huge open-air patio with giant Jenga, a ton of big flat-screen TVs for watching whatever game happens to be on, and cocktails served in Mason jars.

O.E. Penguin

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If you're not already aware of this divey downtown bar, you'll probably walk right by it, but it's worth seeking out: Besides strong drinks and a sort-of-creepy penguin suit that drunk people like to try on, there's also a pool table, Golden Tee, a couple video games and a jukebox, plus a cool balcony overlooking Main Street. [Photo: Jonathan B./Foursquare]

The Social House

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This Uptown bar recently launched a massive patio-slash-backyard with giant Jenga, trashcan pong (like beer pong but um, bigger?), bubble soccer and ladder golf. 100 beers on tap will help you get into the competitive spirit. (Do note it's only open on the weekends.)

Tradewinds Social Club

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This Oak Cliff dive is the antithesis of sceney Uptown bars -- laid-back, totally unpretentious and always full of interesting characters, with pool, shuffleboard and darts, seriously cheap drinks and some surprisingly delicious pizza.

Vagabond

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Formerly J. Pepe's, this recently opened Lower Greenville bar/restaurant filled in the backyard pool and turned it into a bocce ball court -- a game that thankfully, doesn't really require much skill (and is somewhat less dangerous than darts when you've had a few drinks). That along with solid craft cocktails and build-your-own burgers makes this a worthy hangout.

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Barcadia

Barcadia is full of fun distractions, from vintage arcade games (think Street Fighter, Super Mario Bros. and Galaga) to skee-ball to giant Jenga on the patio. Plenty of beer options and tasty frozen drink specials make this a great warm weather hangout -- just beware the Jenga if you're wearing open-toed shoes, because those wooden blocks are heavy.

Bowlounge

This Design District destination is a bowling alley first and foremost, but it also has a pretty awesome bar/lounge where you can get draft cocktails and boozy milkshakes (plus food by Twisted Root) and play Golden Tee or shoot some pool.

Bryan Street Tavern

Besides having some of the city's best pizza and wings, this East Dallas staple also has plenty of ways to amuse while you throw back a cold local draft: Pool, shuffleboard, darts and a jukebox. The bar recently debuted a spacious new outdoor patio, but on hot days the cool, dark interior makes an excellent hideaway.

Elbow Room

Shuffleboard isn't just for elderly cruiseline guests, you know. It requires a bit less coordination than say, pool, meaning you can play it with one hand while holding a stiff drink -- and this laid-back bar bordering Deep Ellum and East Dallas is a good place to do so. (Good pizza, too.)

The Foundry

This Oak Cliff bar shares a massive compound with Chicken Scratch and is arguably one of the city's finest hangouts when the weather is nice. There's giant Jenga, a pool table inside, and you might even catch a live band on the outdoor stage -- plus there's a great selection of craft beer and you can head next door for fried chicken when you get hungry.

The Ginger Man

A fantastic patio and amazing beer selection are the major draws at this charming Uptown pub, but there's also darts, board games and a very competitive Tuesday night trivia game.

Katy Trail Ice House

This huge compound situated on jogger/biker mecca Katy Trail has an oddly engrossing bean bag toss game known as cornhole. Extremely cold beer and barbecue that's smoked on-site makes this a very popular Uptown destination, so expect it to be packed.

The Nodding Donkey

This lively bar in the State-Thomas area has a huge open-air patio with giant Jenga, a ton of big flat-screen TVs for watching whatever game happens to be on, and cocktails served in Mason jars.

O.E. Penguin

If you're not already aware of this divey downtown bar, you'll probably walk right by it, but it's worth seeking out: Besides strong drinks and a sort-of-creepy penguin suit that drunk people like to try on, there's also a pool table, Golden Tee, a couple video games and a jukebox, plus a cool balcony overlooking Main Street. [Photo: Jonathan B./Foursquare]

The Social House

This Uptown bar recently launched a massive patio-slash-backyard with giant Jenga, trashcan pong (like beer pong but um, bigger?), bubble soccer and ladder golf. 100 beers on tap will help you get into the competitive spirit. (Do note it's only open on the weekends.)

Tradewinds Social Club

This Oak Cliff dive is the antithesis of sceney Uptown bars -- laid-back, totally unpretentious and always full of interesting characters, with pool, shuffleboard and darts, seriously cheap drinks and some surprisingly delicious pizza.

Vagabond

Formerly J. Pepe's, this recently opened Lower Greenville bar/restaurant filled in the backyard pool and turned it into a bocce ball court -- a game that thankfully, doesn't really require much skill (and is somewhat less dangerous than darts when you've had a few drinks). That along with solid craft cocktails and build-your-own burgers makes this a worthy hangout.

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