There’s always that one friend who somehow beats you no matter what game you play. Every sport and activity comes naturally to them. Playing 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. Exhausting everyone’s hand-eye coordination and increasing the enjoyment of losing tenfold. We’ve picked out seven of the best activity bars that combine booze and games in Birmingham, so you can challenge your mates and increase your chances of winning.
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 is tucked away in The Custard Factory and has all the retro favorites 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 bar 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 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, specialty coffee and smooth-functioning pinball machines. There’s nothing too flashy about this activity bar. But what it does, it does really 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 definitely worth checking out, where £5 will let you play all night long.
City Arcade, 2 Union St, B2 4TX
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 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
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 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 Dropshot such a perfect spot. The Digbeth activity bar has six Olympic-sized tables, but also sports two shuffle boards 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
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