No matter what game you, there’s always that one mate who can always best you. Darts? They’re hitting triple-20s while you can’t hit the board. Bowling? They’ve got another strike while your ball is stuck in the gutter. How about a friendly game of Street Fighter II? You’ve been KO’d in seconds before you can even land a hit. Luckily alcohol can be a great equaliser in these scenarios. And these activity bars in Birmingham are great at combining booze and games. So you can get ahead!
Stepping inside NQ64 is like taking a nostalgic trip to your childhood thanks to its neon walls and throwback arcade machines. The unique gaming arcade and bar are tucked away in The Custard Factory and has all the retro favourites you can think of, including Mortal Kombat, Pac Man, and Tekken, as well as owning a Sega Mega Drive, N64 and PlayStation.
If you’re like us, and can’t find the right cables or a TV that fits your old consoles, this place is a must for those looking to scratch that retro gaming itch. There are also gaming-themed cocktails, such as Princess Peach, the Mad Max and the Root Beer Tapper, to sip on as you complete a flawless victory!
The Custard Factory, Gibb Street, B9 4BG
VR is the future, or so we’ve been told. Otherworld only helps to confirm this with an interior that looks ripped straight from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Pop on a headset and take an impossible journey to sixteen unique experiences with your friends on a virtual island.
Before you depart, however, you’ll be able to access a range of self-service drinks (the bar is also open to those not looking to travel). From surviving a zombie apocalypse to swinging through trees and discovering ancient secrets, no other activity bars in Birmingham will shoot you into the future like this.
20 Bennetts Hill, B2 5QJ
3. Flight Club
The first rule of Flight Club is ‘tell everyone you can about Flight Club’. Gone are the days of playing darts in old, smokey pubs and trying to keep score with a board and the small nub of chalk. Flight Club has modernised the sport in ways few could imagine. There’s a focus on socialising rather than winning. And a computer keeps track of everyone’s scores, so you don’t have to. There are also different variations on the sport, like Demolition or Snakes & Ladders, if you want to spice things up. This place hits the bullseye!
13 Temple Street, B2 5BN
Fancy yourself a pinball wizard? Look no further than Tilt. This independent bar keeps things simple with an eclectic collection of craft beer, speciality coffee and smooth-functioning pinball machines. There’s nothing too flashy compared to other activity bars in Birmingham. But what it does, it does well and that’s the way we like it when we’re between the flippers. Pinball socials on the last Monday of the month are worth checking out, where £5 will let you play all night long.
City Arcade, 2 Union St, B2 4TX
5. Chance & Counters
If your type of fun involves games paced a little slower, but no less blood-boilingly exciting, then maybe this board game café is up your ladder. Don’t worry about playing some old Scrabble or Monopoly, with half the pieces missing, there are over 500 different games to choose from at Chance & Counters.
It is £3 for a two-hour session or £6 for a four-hour session, but a £25 membership will give you half-price gaming charges if you’re an avid board gamer. So whether you’re after a quick game or you want to play something that takes days to complete, this is the place to be… until you’re to flip the board over and end all friendships.
Courtyard Studio 8 Scott House Custard Factory, B9 4AA
6. Drop Shot
Are you team table tennis, ping pong or whiff-whaff? No matter what you call it, it is the perfect racket sport for avoiding working up a sweat. That’s not to say it can’t be a high-octane sport. But let’s face it, most of us just want to unwind and have a few drinks while we play. Which is what makes Drop Shot such a perfect spot. The Digbeth activity bar has six Olympic-sized tables but also sports two shuffleboards and pool tables. It also has a full cocktail bar and an array of craft beers, for the perfect blend of boozing and playing.
60 Heath Mill Ln, Deritend B9 4AR
7. The Floodgate
The Floodgate is one helluva activity bar. This outdoor paradise in Digbeth is jam-packed with stuff to do and there’s enough room to squeeze all your friends into it. The Yard has everything you need, including curling lanes, batting cages and somewhere to grab drinks and street food. Our tip though, book a session of Pit Pat Golf. Think of it as a mix between snooker and mini golf. The UV 18-hole course has been designed by some of the area’s local street artists and is an experience like no other in the country.
104-108 Floodgate St, B5 5SR
8. Roxy Ball Room
Does Digbeth have all the best activity bars in Birmingham? Well not anymore. As Roxy Ball Room has upgraded with a bigger and better second site on Victoria Square. Expect all the excitement of the Digbeth site to continue, however, as this new activity bar maintains its mantra of “booze and ball games”.
Expect plenty of competitive games such as pool, ping-pong, basketball, shuffleboard, ten-pin bowling and beer-pong. While Roxy’s signature food and drink offerings also return. The Digbeth site meanwhile is still knocking about. It just had a re-brand as Roxy Lanes – marking a shift away from ball games to mostly bowling.
Roxy Ball Room, 1 Victoria Square, Birmingham B1 1BD
Roxy Lanes, 58 – 60 Heath Mill Ln, Deritend, Birmingham B9 4AR
9. Golf Fang
Golf Fang in Digbeth is emphasising the crazy in crazy golf. From a sex shop to The Jezza Kyle Show set, an arcade to a men’s toilet, this twisted carnival-style take on the 18-hole course in The Custard Factory, offers some truly bonkers settings for golf.
The Birmingham activity bar also doubles as a ‘Sprayground’ for the city’s best graffiti writers to express themselves without damaging property or facing retribution. On top of this, Golf Fang also serves cocktails and street food to enjoy. You and your mates will sooner forget who won than the inventive environments you battled each other in.
The Custard Factory, Gibb St, Deritend, Birmingham B9 4AA