Jun 27

Board Games In Pubs And Bars

Have you ever wanted to sip down your beers while thrashing your mates over a game of ping pong or a friendly round of sbnakes and ladders? Now, with the new wave of bars playing host to sporting activities and board games in bars and pubs, you can. Pubs are no longer just about exercising the liver.

Games in bars was a concept introduced to the drinking world in the United States. In 2006, a stack of pubs opened with board games their main focus. Sipping cocktails over the ches board, doing shots each time your snake moved a space up the ladder and beers while spelling words in scrabble sounds different doesn’t it? Turns out, that Americans were embracing the new drinking experience with bar attendance going up. Perhaps drinkers in the US were getting bored with the same ideas and repetitive notion of going out, getting drunk, dancing, pashing randums and well, just doing it over and over again each weekend.

Australian bars have cottoned on now with Sydney leading the way in this new drinking experience. In late 2009, four smallish venues opened with great food, classic cocktails, funkey furniture and board games! Doctor Pong is a bar where patrons suck down beers along side a huge ping pong table. There is a Doctor Pong bar in Germany’s capital, Berlin and the Sydney sister has been popular – obvious through the long lines which snake out the door and down the street.

If ping pong isn’t your thing though do not despair. Another night spot in Sydney offering board games is Booty Bay. Take your pick of cluedo, monopoly or panic. They are all yours in this cute, relaxed space.

For some, games and bars aren’t a great combination. One police officer who chose to remain anonymis said he believed games in bars would potentially increase disorderly behaviour and alcohol related violence. He also mentioned that alcohol has always gone hand-in-hand with Australia’s heavy drinking culture and that this would only further intensify this negative image. On the contrary, many patrons I interviewed agreed it was a nice way to spend a night out and that it wasn’t just for nerds. One girl even went as far as to say she drunk less while playing games because she was competitive and there was something to do on a night out where games existed apart from drink. Another, mentioned it was a way of meeting new people and best of all, a method of impressing people of the opposite sex especially, if you win against them.

One thing is for sure though, people seem to be loving the game and bars concept. Regardless of whether you agree with it or not, I feel like it is here to stay and only time will tell whether other bars and pubs will catch on to our needs for expanding diversity in our drinking experiences.


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