Looking for a unique night out in New York? If your idea of the perfect evening plans involve suds, shots and a ping pong table, skip Dave & Busters and seek out these dens of frivolity.
Beekman Beer Garden
89 South St. (Pier 17)
New York, NY 10038
Beekman Beer Garden is a seasonal “beach” offering Manhattanites and tourists a welcome break from South Street Seaport and Wall Street workdays. Serving up a smattering of beer, wine and a full bar, plastic sofas and chairs are strategically set up around fire pits with views of the Brooklyn Bridge. You’ll also find pool, foosball and ping-pong tables ready for your drinking adventures. Private parties can arrange with the staff to set up tournaments (games in the past have included beer pong, arm wrestling and volleyball). And for the first time, Beekman has set up a public beer pong tournament for early August. Participants register at the Beekman website for a minimal fee, and the winning team can expect worthy prizes.
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110 East 11th St. (between 3rd and 4th Aves)
New York, NY 10003
This 11,000 square-foot drinking and gaming temple bills itself as the “most famous pool room in the country.” We have no evidence either way, but it is very popular for drop-ins and private parties, corporate events and the like. In addition to the well-maintained tables (with a special late-night $29 flat rate), you’ll find ping pong, shuffleboard, darts, foosball and a full cocktail bar all ensconced in old school dark oak and brass. The bar has a permanent, light-up beer pong table near the front bar and the staff can set up more as needed for private events. Best option: order the “bucket of beer and balls” and come out swinging. Recently launched: six-foot party sandwich from Benchmarc Events catering. Amsterdam Billiards is perfect for private events or very, very hungry dates.
25 Ave B (between 2nd and 3rd Ave.)
New York, NY 10009
This no-nonsense basement hideaway in Alphabet City celebrates “bourbon, beer and rock.” Think of it as a speakeasy for the beer geek, or the post-concert hangout for then next breakout NYC band. You’ll find $3 drink specials and $5 happy hours, but instead of just PBR, the craft-brew menu features about 50 choices between bottles, cans and six taps. The spirits list (not just bourbon) is equally impressive. But when you want to “play,” consider the Dunkaroo. A frat house pasttime, you’ll find yourself plunging face first into a tray filled with ice-cold water, staying “under” as long as you’re able, and coming up for air in time to chug an ice cold beer. Stay thirsty.
149 Bleeker St. (between Thompson and W Broadway)
New York, NY 10012
If you can’t make it out to beer pong mecca Captain Hooks Bar on the Jersey Shore, and you don’t have the chops for the full-on tournaments at 3 Sheets, this Pirate Sports Bar in the Village/NYU area is your next best bet. With several lighted tables dedicated to beiruit and other beer pong games, along with darts, foosball and epic specials, like $9 pitchers of beer and $4 rum and cokes, this bar is designed for socializing and popular with the just-turned-legal crowd. If you lose at pong, it will be time to step up to the karaoke stage and belt out your best rendition of “Call Me, Maybe.”
Related: The Best Beer Gardens in NYC
Greenwich Village Country Club
110 University Place (between 12th and 13th St)
New York, NY 10003
There ought to be a law that, from here on out, there will always be an indoor miniature golf course, with drinks served by “caddies,” next to a bouncing nightclub dance floor filled with NYU hotties. That’s why we have GVCC, located above Bowlmor near Union Square. Drink after each hole, drink when someone bogies (whatever that is). You make the rules. And if navigating a white ball amongst circus animal statuettes into nine holes doesn’t slake your thirst, you can always move the party to the adjacent bocce ball and shuffleboard courts or air hockey tables. And, you know, there’s beer pong. (Kid birthday parties take over the space early on Saturdays and Sundays).
Related: Best Karaoke Bars in NYC
388 Union Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
A dive-inspired space dedicated to offering up a huge rotating roster of American craft beers (think White Birch Hooksett Ale or Dogfish Head Sah’Tea) and an unusual assortment of 20 or so upright classic arcade games (think Gauntlet, Punch Out and Asteroids) is so quirky, it could only land in Williamsburg (or, you know, Jersey City or Philly, where there are sister Barcades). Sidle up to the eco-friendly bar to peruse the 25 taps and even more bottled options, or drop a quarter (a quarter!) in any of the machines and attempt to beat the high scores posted on the bar’s website. You figure out how you’re going to drink during the Ms. PacMan cut scenes.