Sometimes, just drinking isn’t enough. While knocking down a few drinks after work is certainly a way to burn off stress, sometimes it takes a little something extra. Fortunately, a number of Houston bars offer plenty of booze...and a whole lot more.
Note: This list is in alphabetical order.
BROOKLYN ATHLETIC CLUB
You won’t find anything quite like Brooklyn Athletic Club in Houston, in part because it was inspired by a club in New York. Satisfy your hunger with a variety of salads and burgers, and quench your thirst with any number of local craft beers, wine and cocktails. Those looking to curb their competitive edges are in luck, as Brooklyn Athletic Club features Ping-Pong, badminton, croquet and other games not found in most bars. 601 Richmond, thebrooklynathleticclub.com
Cards, board games, pool, air hockey and foosball – Darwin’s Theory doesn’t lack for options in the bar games department. Add in an old-school Street Fighter machine, quality bar food, and the fact that it features both craft and cheap options, and you get one of the more unique bar experiences Houston has to offer. 33 Waugh, facebook.com/darwinstheoryhouston/
DAVE & BUSTER’S
Sure, it’s a chain joint, but good luck having a bad time at Dave & Buster’s. While somewhat pricey, D&B serves up quality food, provides a full bar and features sports on myriad TVs through the gigantic space. Oh yeah, D&B also offers an array of arcade games, air hockey, pinball machines galore and a number of those machines in which you lower the hook to catch a prize but never succeed. Two Houston-area Locations, daveandbusters.com
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EIGHTEEN TWENTY LOUNGE/JOYSTIX CLASSIC GAMES & PINBALLS
The first and last Friday of every month, as part of Pacman Fever Fridays, these two joints partner up and offer all the arcade games you can play for $15 from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Eighteen Twenty serves up the drinks while Joystix – traditionally a dealer in arcade games – provides the games. It doesn’t happen often, but it’s certainly worth making the time. 1820 Franklin, joystixamusements.com
KUNG FU SALOON
Be warned, Kung Fu gets packed on the weekends, and the crowd can get a bit bro-ish. That said, it’s worth it to play FREE games, including legendary arcade offerings such as NFL Blitz, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. Kung Fu also features giant Jenga and Connect Four, as well as Scrabble, dominoes and chess. Kung Fu also offers a full bar, solid bar food and private karaoke rooms. 5317 Washington, kungfusaloonhouston.com
If you grew up in the '80s or '90s, this East Downtown drinkery is the place for you. In addition to comfortable couches, karaoke and great cocktails, Neil’s Bahr offers an array of arcade games. Not only that, but the bar offers games of yesteryear, such as Goldeneye and Super Mario Kart on Nintendo 64. The club also features weekly trivia, and The Simpsons is pretty much streaming on a loop 24/7. So yeah, nerd heaven. 2006 Walker, neilsbahr.com
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A number of area bars feature pinball; Poison Girl has a whole row of 'em. The music is good (but subdued enough that you can manage a conversation), the crowd is lively and diverse, and the bartenders know their whiskey. Poison Girl is a consummate dive bar in every sense of that phrase, and that is meant as a compliment. 1641 Westheimer, Suite B, facebook.com/Poison-Girl
Raven Tower, a sort of little brother to the recently opened White Oak Music Hall, has quickly become popular for showcasing both local and national acts, as well as offering an array of local craft brews (plus, that view!). However, Raven Tower also offers free yoga every Sunday at 10 a.m. through June, along with drink specials. 310 North, raventower.net
Yeah, it can get a bit pricey to drink and dine while playing in one of Top Golf’s signature bays. But there's a way to combat that – play with a large group or do so before noon, when bay prices are half-off. Each Top Golf location also features pool tables and television sets, and the place morphs into a solid sports bar for big games. Three Houston-area locations, topgolf.com
There is definitely a contingent of folk that don’t even come to Crowbar to drink, but rather to play on one of the bar’s three volleyball courts. When it’s not league night, and when courts aren’t reserved, Crowbar offers its courts up for free “open play” nights. Coupled with offering quality food and drink specials every night (even on weekends), as well as Wednesday trivia, the dog-friendly Crowbar is a favorite of those both in Garden Oaks and from surrounding communities. 954 Wakefield, wakefieldcrowbar.com