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10 Seattle Bars Where You Can Do More Than Just Drink

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Courtesy of FlatstickPub

All the best plans usually involve the word “and”: Dinner and a movie, football and wings, Netflix and chill, drinks and… what? Meaningful conversation that deepens your connection to whoever you’re with? Yeah, right. This is the home of the Seattle Freeze, remember? We do don’t do that, which is why you need to do your drinking at a bar that lets you do something else fun -- like play video games, work on your mini-golf game, or pretend you actually know how to play bocce. Luckily, we’ve found 10 Seattle bars where you can do all that and more. 

Flatstick Pub

Multiple locations
Flatstick’s stunning, subterranean Pioneer Square location would be a can't-miss drinking destination if it were just a sprawling, brick-heavy basement bar rife with industrial touches, whimsical wall art, and a few tabletop games. But it also boasts an impressive nine-hole mini-golf course that actually spells out "Seattle" in big block letters across the concrete floor and ends at a towering replica of the Space Needle. It was also the inspiration for two other equally impressive locations (in South Lake Union and Kirkland), all of which allow you to play a few holes (just $7 per person) while knocking back some seriously good local beers, none of which are produced any further away than, like, Yakima. Oh, and if that's not enough, for $3.50 you can try your hand at Duffleboard, a cross between mini-golf and shuffleboard invented by the crew at Flatstick.

Spin

Downtown
Spin is another stunning, subterranean bar, only this time with ping pong tables. Boasting seven locations across the US and Canada, Spin's Seattle outpost fashionably fills nearly 10,000 square feet in the basement of the historic Decatur Building with a dozen ping pong tables, a massive bar, and original graffiti-style art featuring local legends like Bruce Lee and Jimi Hendrix -- making it a vast improvement over the basements where you played ping pong growing up. Even better, since 90% of ping pong is chasing after errant shots, they've got ball girls/boys to take care of that for you. It costs $8 an hour to play, but Spin does offer free classes on Saturdays if you need to work on your skills.

Photography by Todd Rotkis, Tom Douglas Seattle Kitchen

Brave Horse Tavern

South Lake Union
Opened in Amazon-land eight years ago by Seattle’s most famous chef, Tom Douglas, this second-story, brick-and-blonde-wood, 200-seat bar features a ream of decorative touches (vintage bar signs, reclaimed plank walls, equine statues, etc.), and is dominated by a giant three-sided bar that boasts 24 taps. But you’re there for the two retro-style shuffleboard tables beneath the massive metal skylights, or maybe the dartboards overlooking the street, or maybe even the amazing pretzels they make in the brick oven right in front of you. Either way, you’ll probably have a good time.

Garage Billiards

Capitol Hill
This Broadway mainstay has “billiards” in its name, and does boast 25 pool tables, but it’s best known for the bowling lanes (there are more than 20!) spread across two rooms. The massive entertainment center on Cap Hill’s old Auto Row (hence the name) also has six bars and specials that don't only apply to drinks (you can play games for more than half-off from 10pm to 2am daily). All that bowling can make you work up an appetite, so you can also order a variety of traditional bar eats like wings, burgers, and two different kinds of pizza from their “Laneside” restaurant.

Hillside Bar

Capitol Hill
Judging by Hillside’s charmingly kitschy Facebook page, it might just be the most enthusiastic trivia destination in the city. That -- plus pool tables -- would be enough games for most places, but not the Hillside. Upstairs (which, by the time you've climbed back up from the recessed room with said pool tables is pretty much at street level), there is a sizable collection of pinball and arcade-style games like Big Buck Hunter where you can spend whatever bucks you haven't already thrown toward something from the bar’s sizable list of whiskeys.

Waterwheel

Ballard
Proudly calling itself the “friendliest dive bar in Seattle,” this tiny Ballard watering hole is known for karaoke... and bingo, and trivia, and Giant Jenga (and some surprisingly good fried chicken), but that’s not all it’s got. Set back from 15th Avenue, and screened off from the street by tarps that hide a huge front "yard" (it's artificial turf), Waterwheel also boasts all kinds of lawn games, which you can pair with the $2 domestic drafts they pour during happy hour. Choose from ping pong, ladderball, and cornhole; the games are available most of the year except when it’s really cold out.

Mox Boarding House

Ballard
This bar/retail concept seamlessly combines two seemingly incongruous things: Adult beverages and a store specializing in kids games. But not just any kids games, we’re talking tabletop games like Magic: The Gathering and Settlers of Catan, almost all of which you can play for free while sitting in the bar munching on nachos or a “classic” grilled cheese made with Tillamook sharp cheddar or provolone on Macrina brioche.

Courtesy of B Public Relations

Rhein Haus

Capitol Hill
This cavernous, 420-seat beer hall located inside a former furniture warehouse is fitted with two bars, five indoor bocce courts, two elevated mezzanine-style sitting areas, and a "bier den" tricked out like some grandiose Bavarian hunting lodge. Food offerings focus on their house-made pretzels (including a giant version you can get for 16 bucks), and various sausages they actually stuff on-site and serve with sauerkraut, mashed potatoes & fresh horseradish. There are also enough German and local beers available to give you the confidence to try a round of bocce. If you do, a court will cost you between $5-$8 per person, per hour, and are available on a walk-in only basis on Friday and Saturday nights.

Rabbit Hole

Belltown
Constructed almost entirely with polished wood (from the row of high-backed banquettes, to the oversized L-shaped bar), this large dive from the people behind one of Seattle's most secret bars, Bathtub Gin, is known for its boisterous atmosphere, huge whiskey list, and serving PBR tall boys in only partly ironic fashion. But posted up in the back are a retro-style pinball machine and two Skee-Ball tables (they even host a tournament every Tuesday). Skee-Ball games only cost 25 cents, but come early if you want to play -- it can be tough to get one of the two tables when the place is busy, and downright impossible if you come during league play, which apparently is a real thing.

Jupiter Bar

Belltown
Opened in 2017, Jupiter is a sort of art-meets-arcade bar that features a riotous collection of murals and other artwork up front, and a surprisingly large number (29!) of retro pinball cabinets in the back. That combination earned it a place on our list of best Seattle bars for singles, but really it makes for a good night out whether you’re trying to score a date or just get the high score on Hardbody, a pinball machine covered in pictures of ’80s-era aerobics instructors.

Bradley Foster is a former Thrillist editor who has never played trivia at a bar, but if he did, it would totally be at the Hillside. Seriously, they are that into it.