Sometimes simply sitting and sipping isn’t enough to pique our bar-hopping interest. That’s where bars with games come in. They provide us opportunity to challenge our skill level, like our Skee-Ball aim, or how long we can avoid the wrath of those Pac-Man-zapping ghosts. (Add board games to the mix later this year when Game Theory opens in south Fort Worth.) Even better, they often allow us to interact with others with games like Connect Four, giant Jenga, ping-pong, and in the case of one Fort Worth bar, a four-person seesaw.
So farewell, "Fortnight" — at least for an evening. Here are five of Fort Worth’s best bars for gaming fun.
Kung Fu Saloon
Brand new on the bar game scene is Austin-based Kung Fu Saloon, which just opened on Morton Street near all of the West Seventh district debauchery. With nunchucks as its logo and even a half-basketball court painted on the floor in the men’s restroom (by the urinals, of course), the bar is all about fun and games. There’s a massive patio with turf grass for ping-pong, giant Jenga and Connect Four, cornhole, foosball, and more than 20 vintage arcade games and pinball machines inside. Each location has a unique sake bomb menu. Fort Worth’s includes sake dropped in Ace Pear cider, Lone Star beer with a splash of orange juice, Guinness topped with Irish cream, or Blue Moon topped with vanilla vodka. There’s also a full kitchen with Asian-inspired American favorites, like the popular cheeseburger eggrolls and spicy Korean pork tacos.
Craftcade Pinball Bar
If there’s a place to get lost in pinball paradise, it’s Craftcade Pinball Bar, new in the Near Southside on South Jennings Avenue. The classic machines line an entire wall of the funky bar, where wood pallets and string lights hang across the ceiling, and large portraits dedicated to “rebels” like Ozzy Osborne, Willie Nelson and Tupac hang on the walls. While the “cade” stands for arcade, the “craft” refers to the cocktails, including house-made sangria with fruit-infused, Tetris-shaped ice, and a chocolate julep with whiskey and fresh mint. There are layered Jell-O shots, too, for the college kid in all of us.
While golf is obviously the game of choice here, there’s opportunity to kill time with other forms of entertainment like cornhole, shuffleboard, pool tables and Xbox Kinect. Three floors of climate-controlled hitting bays — 102 total — can host up to six players at a time. Prices range from $25-$45 per hour for bay rentals. There are also more than 200 flat-screen TVs and a lengthy drink and food menu. Go on Sundays for brunch, a tabletop build-your-own-mimosa bar, and a not-too-busy scene.
From Donkey Kong to Street Fighter and Ms. Pac-Man to Mortal Kombat, the '80s arcade games at Barcadia beckon our inner teenager. There are close to a couple dozen games and pinball machines in the So7 bar, as well as Skee-Ball, pool tables, and the requisite giant Jenga on the outdoor patio. With its open interior, brick walls, and mellow garage-like vibe, Barcadia is an O.G. in the bar-arcade business, having opened way back in 2011. There’s good grub, too, including a killer Sunday brunch where brunch shots involve orange juice and bacon. Note that there are at least 30 or so beers on tap, and too many cans and bottles to count. Go on Tuesdays for free arcade game play all night.
If riding a mechanical bull brings you happiness, ride to your heart’s desire at Landmark, right on the bar’s street-side covered patio. Inside, find newer games to play like Big Buck Hunter, basketball, a bowling game that resembles Skee-Ball, a golf putting game, and more. Granted, once this popular West Seventh Street district bar gets packed on weekends late night, playing becomes a little cumbersome with wall-to-wall bodies. Visit earlier for full access to the fun and stay hydrated with half-liter “candy carafe” cocktails like watermelon and apple vodka with Sour Patch Kids, berry and grape vodka with Nerds, and mango and red berry vodka with Skittles.