There is nothing that can quite beat celebrating a birthday at an activity bar with games, because it authentically recreates that nostalgic, magical feeling of playing the party games of your youthful years, but with alcohol all around you this time around. And, of course: everybody has to let you be victorious.
Here is a list of the best activity bars in London if that is what you are looking for:
All Star Lanes
Location: Shoreditch & Holborn, Westfield
PAX: Up to 21
Bowling is always fun, especially when you combine with non-sweaty shoes, cocktails, private karaoke booths, a 1950’s vibe, and an authentic American diner setting that serves everything from chargrilled prime beef steaks to corn-dipped, tasty Mississippi fish finger sandwiches. And just in case you “accidentally” get drunk, well…
You can also try Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes which has a similarly retro vibe and allows guests to book up to eight lanes at once.
PAX: There is only one lane at the Baranis, so unless you play in rounds, it is probably best you cap the number at around eight people.
Baranis is a Temple-based basement cocktail bar that serves a sizeable assortment of the best regional prime anise-flavoured aperitif, pastis and a simple traditional Provencal snacks menu. The joint also has a gravelled indoor petanque court where revellers can have fun throwing hollow metal balls as close to a small wooden ball as possible. It is quite a simple game – well unless you do not have arms.
Mac & Wild
Location: Liverpool Street
PAX: Up to 40 people (£60 per head)
Mac & Wild is a whiskey bar with over two hundred drink varieties on its shelves, bar snacks like ‘haggis pops’ and bottled house cocktails. But the best part about the bar is that it has a two virtual shooting ranges – furnished with a tweed-heavy dress up box – that stretch down its middle that allow revellers to shoot various simulated game like grouse, wild boars, and deer.
PAX: Groups of between 10 to 35 can reserve areas with one or two foosball tables.
If there is a term that would best sum up Bar Kick, it would be “Shoreditch royalty.” But so would “a lively, rollicking football-inspired activity bar offering a menu of charcuterie, epicurean sandwiches, cocktails, cheese, wine, beer and – above all – foosball tournaments.” The Babyfoot foosball tables that have been so popular are here, and you can play them all night in between drinks.
The London Shuffle Club
A brief overview of shuffleboard: the shuffleboard was invented in England around the early 1500s – even Henry the Eighth played it, increasing its popularity. The game become so addictive that it led to people not working. As a result, the government had to ban the game in 1542.
But it is back again!
And the people responsible for brazenly risking our nation’s economy by unbridling this forbidden pastime to an unsuspecting public once again are none other than the guys at the London Shuffle Club. Having established the idea using two long term pop-ups, the club has determined that people are still keen on playing shuffleboard and have settled in a two-level, permanent home in Shoreditch.
Draughts Board Game Café
Location: Haggerston, Waterloo
PAX: Up to eight people or as many people as can huddle around a decent-sized board game.
The draughts board game café is a partially crowd-funded board games café nestled in the heart of Hackney and the archways underneath London’s Waterloo station. The café stocks well over 500 games and a small selection of local ales, craft beers, wines, and ciders, as well as several homemade baked goodies.
Location: Holborn, Shoreditch
PAX: Anywhere from two to an (astonishing) five hundred people. You can book everything from one ping pong table to entire rooms filled with tables.
Bounce, which is set over a 12,000 sq. ft. Russell Sage-themed space in Holborn, Shoreditch, features an impressive number of ping-pong tables (17), a 40-foot bar that serves seasonally-inspired beverages, a raised restaurant overlooking the action, and a DJ booth. In a nutshell, if ping pong was fun before the addition of music, cocktails and friends – which it always has been – then Bounce has gone the extra mile to do the near impossible and made it way better.