NYC: Bars That Provide Their Own Entertainment

If you are in the mood for a place that offers more than just a great crowd and strong selection of libations, then you may wish to consider one of these off-beat picks. Indoor bocce ball? An emptied out garage full of classic arcade games? What about an entire bowling alley within a bar? If any of these options sounds enticing then you will be happy to hear that you are just scratching the surface of the city’s offerings of unusually entertaining bars.

Barcade: Only marked by a small lit sign and curbside chalkboard marker, the graffiti covered brick-facade makes the bar easy to miss on first pass. The garage door sized entrance opens into a small outdoor seating area, featuring a bottle cap backdrop and wood stump stools. Once inside, the large, open space is anchored by a concrete top bar featuring an extensive and rotating selection of micro brews. Enclosing the bar are rows of vintage arcade games, such as Tapper, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Frogger and many others.

388 Union Avenue between Powers St & Ainslie St, Brooklyn

The Gutter: By the same creators who brought Barcade to Williamsburg, The Gutter is a vintage style, eight lane bowling alley in a converted factory building. The lanes are equipped, in the loosest sense of the word, with 1970’s Brunswick scoring machines, wooden side tables and table lamps. With only eight lanes, the wait on weekends tends to be long. Fortunately, separated by a glass partition, is a full bar. The vintage theme runs into the wood-paneled bar room, where Tiffany lamps hang over the bar and a random assortment of photos and plaques line the walls. Grab a seat in one of the booths or faux leather captains chairs to partake in the featured selection of local and regional beers.

200 North 14th Street between Wythe Ave & Berry St., Brooklyn

Mason Dixon: Identified by its sliding barn door, this massive open-spaced bar is home to one of Manhattan’s two mechanical bulls. Fashioned after a large wooden barn, this Southern style restaurant and bar boosts a strong selection of bourbon and beer. A can of beer and a shot of any top shelf bourbon earn you a free ride on the bull, although it may take more drinks than that to faces the rowdy crowds encircling the bull ring. Without the drink deal, bull rides are $5.

133 Essex Street between Stanton and Rivington

Brooklyn Bowl: Occupying the 23,000 square foot, former Hecla Iron Works factory, Brooklyn Bowl offers something to keep everyone entertained…a sixteen lane bowling alley, a concert venue, two fully-stocked large bars and food by Blue Ribbon.

61 Wythe Avenue between N. 11th & N.12th Streets, Brooklyn