Subway-desk-subway-barstool-taxi-couch. If this routine sounds too familiar, check out the bars below to stretch your legs – and thumbs! Reminiscent of boardwalk arcades and rad ‘80s parties, these venues, located in Manhattan and Williamsburg, are perfect for a change of pace with friends or as an alternative to the usual drinks date. Have fun, and don’t forget your quarters.
-By Jenn Friedel
325 E. 14th Street
NY, NY 10003
What’s better than cold beer and New York pizza? What about cheap beer (from Bud to Hefeweizen), free pizza and Skee-Ball? Don’t let the bar’s neon green awning scare you off – it’s part of the allure. Once inside, the atmosphere is laid back but exciting, with everyone ambling for prize tickets. Unlike the prized yet cheesy stuffed animals and plastic toys we revered in our youth, these tickets can be cashed in for something cheesy yet satisfying – homemade personal pizzas. With every beer you buy (starting at $5 a bottle), you receive one ticket for a free pizza – with toppings (plus tips). Though far from a large space, no one seems to mind as friendly competition flares over the arcade games, including Wack-a-Mole, and during Wednesday night trivia.
531 E. 5th Street
NY, NY 10009
With darts, Skee-Ball, pinball and pool on offer, Ace Bar caters to those still young at heart. Vintage lunch boxes and monster-movie posters line the walls of this low-key bar, while teams square off and sip on a selection of average-priced drinks. You can even become an Ace Bar Olympian by joining one of its weekly leagues: darts on Tuesday, Skee-Ball on Wednesday, and pool on Monday. The bar can get pretty packed on weekends, so release some of that cubicle tension at Ace’s daily happy hours (5 – 7 p.m.) with beers starting at $3 and well drinks starting at $3.50.
388 Union St.
Brooklyn, NY 11231
Who said being obsessed with video games makes you anti-social? Just in case the rumor is true, get off that couch and head to Barcade – a grown-up version of our favorite quarter-guzzling arcades. Between rounds of Donkey Kong, Centipede, Pacman and Contra, sip on some of the microbrews or ciders on offer. The crowd is mixed with gamers, hipsters, and those with a case of nostalgia. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes because there’s not much seating – though, with all those top scores to beat, who needs chairs anyway?
285 W. Broadway (at Canal Street)
NY, NY 10013
For those who want to relive the days when tie-dye was all the rage, and the more hair product the better – for guys and girls, Saturday nights at the Canal Room are calling. Throw on your Chuck’s and taffeta dresses, and head out to party like it’s still the fluorescent-singed decade. Rubix Cube, the ‘80s house band, has been known to draw revelers on stage, including Mark Sanchez and Lance Bass who’ve crooned a few ballads from yester year. With a great mix of music and dancing, the pocket-change $12 cover is worth the short wait to get inside. An added bonus and rarity at most clubs? The clean bathrooms!
54 W. 21st St.
NY, NY 10010
Looking for a place to hang out, throw back some beers and take your best shots? Head to Slate for Manhattan’s spin on the traditional pool hall. The 33 billiard tables, big-screen TVs, full food and drink menu, DJ and comfy sofas make a great venue for a night out with the guys, or for a good excuse to get close to your date. What’s more, if you’re angling to be New York’s next best pool shark, Slate also offers private lessons (reservations needed).