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Best Activity Bars In San Francisco

By San Francisco Bucket List

Drinks with a side of play.


Published February 04, 2020

Growing up doesn’t have to mean an end to games, it just means we get to enjoy them with alcohol now. Across San Francisco, multiple bars and restaurants offer activities that can spice up your evenings out with a competitive and playful twist. 

Here’s a guide to our twelve favorite bars in SF that provide fun activities—including arcade machines, ping-pong clubs, Karaoke and more—to get your game on at.  

Emporium


(Photo Courtesy of Emporium)

The two-story arcade powerhouse has it all, with enough space to keep its big crowds comfortable. Retro game machines fill the bottom floor—think PacMan and Ninja Turtles—along with ones that get you moving, like Basketball machines, DDR, and skeeball. Additionally, the top area and second floor provide multiple pool, air hockey and foosball tables around its bar area. 

But the crown jewel? The back features a stage area for DJ’s and dancers, against a 50-foot screen showing classic movies, anime or live sports games. 

Where: Emporium at 616 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117
For more information.

Coin-Op

 
 
 
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There’s a reason you enter Coin-Op through a sci-fi-esque tunnel: the whole place feels like being transported into an 80’s gaming world. Cocktails and craft beer are served in this industrial barcade, which includes classics like Pinball and Frogger, but also full Tokyo Drift competitive arcade games. Plus, the kitchen stays open till 1 AM, bringing our childhood dream of staying up all night playing video games and eating nachos to glorious fruition. 

(And, for a sleek surprise, check what’s behind the Tron machine on the top floor.)  

Where: Emporium at 616 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117
For more information.

The Hidden Vine

 
 
 
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Lined in deep blue walls, exposed brick and warm wooden tables, this cozy wine bar offers an outdoor bocce ball court along with their excellent selection of unusual wines. Groups of 12 or less can book a one-hour hold on the court for an $100 food and beverage minimum tab, which is dangerously easy to clear with their multiple fun “flights” options (up for a round of “Pinot Party: Sonoma v. Sta. Rita Hills” anyone?)

Where: The Hidden Vine at 408 Merchant St. San Francisco, CA 94111
For more information. 

SPIN


(Photo Courtesy of Spin)

An incredibly sleek ping pong club lies in the heart of the SoMa district. Come for the game (especially on Fridays, where you can challenge the in-house pro’s for your chance at glory)—but stay for the brightly lit, “graffiti-artistic” atmosphere. The begging-to-be-instagrammed ornate bathtub, filled with ping pong balls under a decorative neon “come play with me” sign, is calling. 

Where: SPIN at 690 Folsom St. San Francisco, CA 94107
For more information.

Plank (Oakland Location)

 
 
 
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Plank is a 50,000 sq ft. indoor and outdoor venue with something for everyone. Set up with gorgeous water views and a locally-focused beer garden, bring your friends to toggle between the sun-bathed bocce court (and maybe a round of giant Jenga?), the 18 lanes of bowling, and adult arcade. 

Where: Plank at 98 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607 (Jack London Square) 
For more information. 

Fifth Arrow

 
 
 
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With hand-pulled mozzarella and homemade crust made daily, the industrial-chic Fifth Arrow fulfills a near-impossible feat. It provides pizza you actually want to eat, a 3-lane bowling alley, sports screens, skee ball and board games all under one roof. With a menu overseen by Jordan Dunn (Padrecito), their cocktails also include plenty of spice, such as the Pepper in Paradise (mezcal, pomegranate, cappelletti, jalapeno, lemon).

Where: Fifth Arrow at 430 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94102
For more information.

Pandora


(Photo Courtesy of Pandora)

Ready to belt out your Ariana Grande impression to an adoring(-ish) crowd? The neon funhouse Pandora is the way to go. You may likely prefer to hit the main stage for free on a casual adventure night, but you have to at least peek at their private rooms through their online gallery (the Warriors room and Gray Goose room have us drooling). 

Where: Pandora at 50 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94102
For more information.

Urban Putt Miniature Golf Course

 
 
 
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Urban Putt is an entirely indoor mini-golf course, complete with hand-designed, artistic (and often signature to SF, i.e. the above pictured “Sutro Tower”) structures at each of its 14 holes. We recommend starting at the craft cocktail bar to grab drinks for the course, then you’re off to enjoy your night of neon putting. When you’re ready for a break on the back seven, pop over to their elevated comfort-food restaurant. 

Where: Urban Putt at 1096 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110
For more information. 

Golden Gate Tap Room

 
 
 
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The sprawling, retro-furnished Golden Gate Tap Room features game hall classics like shuffleboard, SkeeBall, Foosball, arcade games, and pool tables—plus over 20 screens showing all live sporting events. We recommend choosing one of their impressively diverse 100+ different types of beers, then washing it all down with burgers or buffalo wings for the table. 

Where: Golden Gate Tap Room at 449 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94108
For more information. 

S&R Lounge & The Playroom

 

 

 

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Located in the Hotel Zetta, this lounge has a swanky bar downstairs and an elite game room upstairs. Aside from the obvious star– the 30-foot plinko game wall – visitors can enjoy shuffleboard, pool tables, classic games like Uno and Connect Four, and even a Nintendo Wii U console with over 50 games.

Where: S&R Lounge & The Playroom at 55 5th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
For more information.

Soda Popinski’s

 
 
 
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Soda Popinski’s is a soviet-era-decorated saloon serving up Super Nintendo, oversized boots of Moscow Mules, and their signature roulette wheel for surprise drink orders. You’ll be surrounded by hunting trophies (including a black bear shot by one of the owners' grandpas) and multiple flatscreens hooked up to a variety of vintage consoles, to complete the indisputably unique vibe. 

Where: Soda Popinski’s at 55 5th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
For more information.

Detour

 

 

 

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Formerly named Brewcade, newly remodeled arcade-bar Detour offers a full menu of pizzas, cocktails, and more, along with the craft beer list it was originally named for. The neon-designed play space hosts a range of vintage games, like skeeball and Street Fighter, and patrons can score free game play every first Tuesday of the month. Additionally, it’s open to all ages on Saturdays and Sundays 12:00-5:00 PM, if you’re trying to bring the family. 

Where: Detour at 2200A Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114
For more information.

(Cover Photo Courtesy of SPIN San Francisco)

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