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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.

1. Barcadia

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1917 N Henderson Ave
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 821-7300
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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.

2. Bowlounge

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167 Turtle Creek Blvd
Dallas, TX 75207
(214) 741-7737
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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.

3. Bryan Street Tavern

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4315 Bryan St
Dallas, TX 75204
(214) 821-4447
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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.

4. Elbow Room

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3010 Gaston Ave
Dallas, TX 75226
(214) 828-9488
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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.)

5. The Foundry

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2303 Pittman St, Dallas, TX 75208
Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 749-1112
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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.

6. The Ginger Man

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2718 Boll St
Dallas, TX 75204
(214) 754-8771
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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.

7. Katy Trail Ice House

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3136 Routh St
Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 468-0600
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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.

8. The Nodding Donkey

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2900 Thomas Ave
Dallas, TX 75204
(214) 922-8898
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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.

9. O.E. Penguin

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1404 Main St
Dallas, TX 75202
(214) 744-1393
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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]

10. The Social House

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3699 McKinney Ave, Ste 306
Dallas, TX 75204
(214) 521-7500
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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.)

11. Tradewinds Social Club

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2843 W Davis St
Dallas, TX 75211
(214) 337-9075
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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.

12. Vagabond

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3619 Greenville Avenue
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 824-2263
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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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1. Barcadia

1917 N Henderson Ave, Dallas, TX 75206
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.
1917 N Henderson Ave
Dallas, TX 75206

2. Bowlounge

167 Turtle Creek Blvd, Dallas, TX 75207
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.
167 Turtle Creek Blvd
Dallas, TX 75207

3. Bryan Street Tavern

4315 Bryan St, Dallas, TX 75204
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.
4315 Bryan St
Dallas, TX 75204

4. Elbow Room

3010 Gaston Ave, Dallas, TX 75226
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.)
3010 Gaston Ave
Dallas, TX 75226

5. The Foundry

2303 Pittman St, Dallas, TX 75208, Dallas, TX 75208
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.
2303 Pittman St, Dallas, TX 75208
Dallas, TX 75208

6. The Ginger Man

2718 Boll St, Dallas, TX 75204
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.
2718 Boll St
Dallas, TX 75204

7. Katy Trail Ice House

3136 Routh St, Dallas, TX 75201
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.
3136 Routh St
Dallas, TX 75201

8. The Nodding Donkey

2900 Thomas Ave, Dallas, TX 75204
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.
2900 Thomas Ave
Dallas, TX 75204

9. O.E. Penguin

1404 Main St, Dallas, TX 75202
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]
1404 Main St
Dallas, TX 75202

10. The Social House

3699 McKinney Ave, Ste 306, Dallas, TX 75204
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.)
3699 McKinney Ave, Ste 306
Dallas, TX 75204

11. Tradewinds Social Club

2843 W Davis St, Dallas, TX 75211
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.
2843 W Davis St
Dallas, TX 75211

12. Vagabond

3619 Greenville Avenue, Dallas, TX 75206
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.
3619 Greenville Avenue
Dallas, TX 75206

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