If alcohol is a social lubricant, bar games are the wheels it greases.
Pool, bowling, skee ball, shuffleboard: a little friendly competition — low stakes, of course — is just what you need on a casual night, whether you're with a date, the boys or an amalgam of the two.
Herein: five new drinking establishments with a nice roster of games, along with five stalwarts we've been swearing by for years. Some are classy, some are dives, but all give you a reason to eat, drink and be merry.
Situation: Date night, especially a first date night. It’s in the swanky Palomar Hotel.
Best game: Tough call, as they’re all good. Defer to your date. Otherwise, play pool.
You’re ordering: The Otto’s Cocktail (tequila with a tincture of mezcal chipotle and tomatoes) is like a light and spicy Bloody Maria.
Situation: You’re at the beach with friends.
Best game: Pac-Man. But if you go on Tuesday nights, they play a mean group of Connect Four.
You’re ordering: Cauliflower tempura and a charred burger, to be washed down with a minty paloma.
Arts District Brewery
Situation: Afternoon or happy-hour drinking with the crew.
Best game: Skee ball. They have several classic machines as well, but they fill up fast.
You’re ordering: Something hoppy and some wings from the Fritzy window that abuts the place.
Situation: Classy enough for a date, cool enough for just hanging with friends.
Best game: If the 27-foot indoor pétanque (bocce) court is full, try the foosball tables.
You’re ordering: It’s hot out, so try a cucumber fizz with gin.
Situation: You’re tying one on.
Best game: Pool. They have big tables.
You’re ordering: Their rye saison has a ton of flavor and still beats the summer heat.
Highland Park Bowl
Situation: Beginning of the night with a group of friends.
Best game: Bowling. The best eight lanes in town, period.
You’re ordering: A doughy pizza and The Dude Abides (guess what’s in it?).
Situation: A very late night.
Best game: Ping pong outside on the patio.
You’re ordering: Miller High Life and a shot of tequila.
Situation: You’re catching up with old friends.
Best game: Pool.
You’re ordering: Tequila and soda with a splash of lime.
11155 Washington Pl (map)
Situation: Night out with friends or a date
Best game: Street Fighter, which they broadcast on the wall above the bar, or any of the vintage pinball cabinets.
You’re ordering: A Moscow mule.
Situation: Bender with friends, or just avoiding traffic after a Dodgers game.
Best game: Pool. The tables are small but it’s still a solid place to rack them up.
You’re ordering: Lagunitas IPA.