While Las Vegas bills itself as a gaming destination, it’s not a reference to the fun-filled social interactions of our youth. Gaming, of course, is a polite word for gambling. And gaming lounges are about the least social places ever, with dozens of heads staring down at video poker or slots as players nurse their drinks. Fortunately, one of the biggest trends to hit bars and restaurants of late is to provide patrons with actual games they can play with each other—and they don’t require gambling on the outcome to be fun. Jenga, Connect Four and cornhole (quiet down, Beavis) seem to be the most popular, but there are plenty of other options. Here are seven spots that embrace this true gaming renaissance. Unless noted, all of the games are free.
On the outdoor patio of The Park’s popular craft beer spot, gaming options include cornhole and some of the largest versions of Connect Four and Jenga games you’ll find anywhere. (Be careful when that Jenga tower crashes!) Inside, you can find smaller versions of those two, as well as trivia and an entire cart stocked with games. Near the west entrance, you’ll also find foosball, shuffleboard and ping-pong. In The Park, theparkvegas.com.
Every Saturday morning at 11 a.m., this local brewery offers a tour to entertain its customers, and the taproom shows football every Sunday. The rest of the time, guests are left to entertain themselves with chess, Risk, Connect Four and card games. And on Wednesdays at 7 p.m., the entire room can participate in beer bingo, taking a drink whenever one of the squares is called. 7350 Eastgate Rd., crafthausbrewery.com.
Hi Scores Bar-Arcade
The bar-side entrance of Hi Scores’ west side location leads to a typical video-poker bar with coin-operated video gaming and foosball. But enter on the arcade side and you’ll find 32 taps and a full menu complemented by 15 old-school arcade consoles set to free play. Titles include Asteroids, Dig Dug, Ms. Pac-Man, Karate Champ, Zaxxon and Mortal Kombat II. And since the bar’s owner is an inventor of Golden Tee, four versions of that game are available for free on the patio. 4785 Blue Diamond Rd., hiscoreslv.com.
Bad Beat Brewing
Believe it or not, man does not live by beer alone. And since this Henderson taproom doesn’t offer food (although you are able to order in), its most prominent secondary attraction is the array of games. You can challenge your friends to giant Jenga, shuffleboard, steel-tip darts or one of several card games. But the coolest attraction might just be the Nintendo setup with more than 20 original games. 7380 Eastgate Rd., badbeatbrewing.com.
Nora’s Italian Cuisine
One of the coolest features of this landmark restaurant’s new location is the outdoor bocce court. Bocce is a traditional Italian game that’s a cross between bowling, shuffleboard and horseshoes, where players try to hurl or bowl their balls closest to a smaller target ball to score points. And while a nice bottle of Italian red isn’t mandatory, it definitely makes the game more fun. 5780 W. Flamingo Rd., norascuisine.com.
This beer and barbecue spot on Paris’ second-floor Strip-side outdoor patio offers numerous games for those who prefer playing their own to watching those that are usually showing on the TVs. You’ll find pool, foosball and shuffleboard tables, as well as cornhole setups and oversize games of Connect Four or Jenga scattered throughout the expansive space.
In Paris Las Vegas, beerpark.com.
PKWY’s flagship location has a huge enclosed outdoor patio with numerous complimentary games, including cornhole, shuffleboard and beer pong tables and oversize versions of Jenga and Connect Four. The place also has a nice collection of board games, including Sorry and Life. And while you do have to pay for it ($3 per person per game), you’ll find a Bowlingo miniature bowling game inside, left over from the building’s Roadrunner days. 9820 W. Flamingo Rd., pkwytavern.com.