50+ Best Bar Games to Keep Customers Entertained
Incorporating entertainment elements into bars can significantly impact your revenue. Consider The Brooklyn Brewery, for example. It’s a female-founded bar that nearly doubled its weeknight revenue by introducing trivia games.
Similarly, The Tap Yard— a Winsconsin-based bar — reported a remarkable 30% increase in revenue after adding fun activities to its space.
But the best thing about bar games is that there are so many options out there. There’s something for every bar type, whether big or small, cheap or expensive.
So if you’re looking to add a few fun games to your space, read ahead to discover 50+ best bar games to keep customers entertained
Pros and Cons of Bar Games
Before we dive into our list, let’s first briefly discuss why offering bar games is a good idea as well as potential cons that you should keep in mind.
Pros of Bar Games
Bar games lead to:
- Increased engagement
- Prolonged visits
- Higher return rates
- Boosted sales
- Higher staff tips
On a more interesting note, over 5000 new board games were introduced into the market during 2020. This reflects the demand for games in social spaces like bars.
Cons of Bar Games
Every coin has two sides to it and so do bar games. Their most obvious con has to do with the associated costs, which include:
- Ongoing maintenance
- Initial investment, which can be as high as $10,000-$15,000 for an arcade.
- Space allocation. You need at least 6 inches between each bar stool and 300 square inches of dining space per person to keep your establishment comfortable. If this space is taken up by games, your revenue can take a hit. This is especially true for smaller bars.
But beyond the costs, you also have to think about the risk of theft, changing consumer preferences, intellectual property issues, and regulatory issues. Some states in the United States prohibit games of chance in bars to discourage gambling.
Of course, a potential 30% revenue increase makes taking these risks worth it. So, let’s take a look at 50+ bar games you can add to your establishment!
50+ Best Bar Games to Keep Customers Entertained in 2023
1. Trivia Night
Trivia night is a quiz game where players test their knowledge on various topics (usually celebrities, drinks, movies, and sports). It’s most popular among millennials, particularly those who enjoy friendly banter and intellectual challenges.
In this game, players use a cue to put balls into pockets. Its blend of strategy and skill attracts players who enjoy friendly competition and the classic pub ambiance.
Darts is a classic bar game. It’s also inexpensive and easy to install — all you have to do is stick up a dart board on a blank wall and make darts available to people.
Most people love the game for its simplicity and need for precision. Plus, aiming accurately for the bullseye boosts their confidence and adds to their social enjoyment.
Shuffleboard is a table game where players slide weighted pucks to score points. It offers a relaxed social atmosphere and people seem to enjoy its competitiveness.
Foosball is a table soccer game where players control miniature players on rods. It can cost you anywhere between $20 and $4000, and the table occupies significant space.
However, it’s a significantly popular game amongst young adults and groups of friends who want to have fun together. The global foosball market stood at $168.7 million in 2018 and is projected to grow at a 5% CAGR from 2019 to 2025. So, it’s likely to generate a high ROI.
6. Ping Pong
Ping pong (or table tennis) is a fast and dynamic game enjoyed for its quick reflexes. It attracts players of all ages and skill levels. And variants like “round-the-table” add extra excitement to the original game.
7. Air Hockey
Air hockey is a reminder of childhood fun, which is why it attracts people of all ages and skill levels.
However, installing the game can cost you $200 – $600 on average. Plus, it occupies a huge chunk of space while catering to only two people at a time.
8. Giant Jenga
Both tabletop Jenga and giant Jenga are popular bar games.
In the giant version, the Jenga pieces are approximately 7x bigger than the classic blocks.
The game allows people to bond, pick sides, and enjoy suspenseful team playing as key players pull blocks from a tower, trying not to make it collapse.
9. Cornhole (Bean Bag Toss)
Cornhole involves tossing bean bags into a hole on a raised platform. It’s popular for its simplicity, outdoor appeal, and the friendly competition that it fosters.
Blackjack is a strategic classic card game that can bring a touch of casino excitement to your bar. It can cost you as little as $50 but can bring in significant revenue because an average blackjack game lasts anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes.
Poker is a card game that attracts diverse age groups and is mainly known for its strategy and suspense. Bars can benefit from the game as it’s usually a six-player game and one round lasts for at least an hour.
12. Board Games
Board games like chess and Scrabble can make your bar friendly for older people who prefer engaging in relaxing activities rather than tension-building games. A satisfying game is likely to bring them back to your bar for a ‘next session’.
Bingo is a numbers game where players mark cards with called numbers. It’s a hit in casual bars, offering easy participation, excitement, and potential for lively social interaction.
14. Connect Four
Connect Four is a two-player strategy game where players aim to be the first to align four of their colored discs either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally on a grid. These days the giant version of the game is also gaining popularity, similar to giant Jenga.
15. Bocce Ball
Bocce Ball is an Italian bowling game that involves tossing balls to get closest to a smaller target ball. It’s an excellent pick for bars with outdoor spaces.
16. Skee Ball
It is a carnival game where players roll balls into scoring holes. If you want to build a nostalgic, arcade-style atmosphere for your bar, this game is a must-have!
Pinball is the most retro arcade bar game on this list. It triggers memories for a lot of people and is a natural magnet for millennials. Thanks to the classic digital version that used to come with Windows computers, the younger generation is also familiar with it. So, it’s a safe pick!
A jukebox lets people choose songs to play. It’s a great addition to bars that want to play diverse music, offer customers control over the ambiance, and encourage longer stays.
Horseshoes is a game for outdoor bars. Players aim to toss horseshoes to encircle a stake. If the horseshoe lands close to or encircles the stake, you score points. Whoever reaches the maximum possible score first wins the game.
20. Spin the Bottle
Spin the Bottle is a party game where a bottle’s spin determines tasks (or challenges). It adds an adventurous element to bars and caters to young, outgoing individuals.
Yahtzee is a dice game where players aim to roll specific combinations for high scores. It’s a blend of luck and strategy, so it’s full of suspense.
22. Liar’s Dice
Liar’s Dice involves bluffing and gambling on the number of dice with certain values. It is highly engaging for those who enjoy reading opponents.
Dominoes is a classic game of matching tiles. Its versatility appeals to diverse age groups, and it’s an excellent pick for family-friendly bars.
24. Pin the Tail on the Donkey
Pin the Tail on the Donkey is a party game involving blindfolded players trying to pin a “tail” on a picture of a donkey. Its hilarious and interactive nature can make your bar’s environment lively and entertaining.
25. Pin the Mustache on the Celebrity
Here, blindfolded players attempt to pin a mustache onto a celebrity image. Similar to the last game, it’s hilarious for the player and everyone around.
26. Beer Pong
In beer pong, players aim to throw ping pong balls into cups of beer across a table. Successful shots mean opponents will drink. This increases the demand for drinks and creates a lively, competitive atmosphere.
27. Flip Cup
Flip Cup involves two teams that compete to drink and flip cups upside down by flicking the rim. It’s a fast-paced game that often bonds people.
28. Never Have I Ever
This is a game of laughter and surprising revelations among friends as players take turns sharing something they’ve never done. Those who have done it have to drink!
Medusa is a group game and you don’t really need to arrange any equipment for it. But you can think of ways to promote this game in your bar.
The game basically involves staring. People sit in a circle and look up at the count of three. If you look up and stare at someone who isn’t staring at you, you’re safe. But if two people are staring at each other, they have to take a drink.
30. Heads Up!
Introduced by Ellen Degeneres, Heads Up! is a fun game featuring outrageous guesses and lots of laughter. One player holds a card with a word on their forehead while others give clues for them to guess it.
31. Pac Man
After pinball, Pacman is the most popular bar arcade game. The player has to navigate a maze-like Pac-Man, gobbling dots while avoiding ghosts. It’s an addictive, strategy-filled pursuit of high scores.
32. Street Fighter
Street Fighter is an arcade game where players engage in one-on-one martial arts battles with a diverse cast of characters (using special moves and combos).
33. Space Invaders
In this arcade game, you defend the Earth by shooting descending alien invaders. It’s popular amongst arcade enthusiasts for its rapid pace and relentless challenge.
Keno is a game where you select numbers, place bets, and hope your choices match the drawn numbers. The blend of luck and excitement in this game keeps players eagerly awaiting the next draw.
Limbo is a contest of flexibility and balance. Players attempt to limbo beneath a lower and lower bar. The simple yet competitive nature of this game encourages friendly competition.
This is the traditional version of Kings with a twist: drinks. Each player draws cards, follows the rules, and takes a drink on certain actions (such as everyone raising their hand when a seven is drawn and the last person to raise their hand drinks).
37. Circle of Death
A deck of cards is spread in a circle. Each card has a corresponding action. Players take turns drawing cards, following instructions, and attempting to avoid the “kings.”
38. Ring Toss
In Ring Toss, you aim to toss rings onto pegs. The more rings you land, the higher your score. Precision helps win the game!
Blokus involves arranging your colored pieces on the board. You strategically block opponents while aiming to fit all your pieces. The player who places the most pieces wins.
Uno is a popular game that’s both affordable and fun. You match the cards by color or number but watch out for action cards. The goal is to be the first to play all your cards.
41. Bar Dice Games
Classic bar dice games like Ship, Captain, Crew, and 1-4-24 are social, easy to learn, and keep customers engaged. They increase foot traffic and drink orders.
42. Phase 10
This is a card game that promotes friendly competition and extended bar visits as players strive to complete challenging phases.
43. Duckpin Bowling
Duckpin bowling is similar to traditional bowling but it involves small pins and bowls.
44. Xbox or PlayStation
Buying an Xbox or a PlayStation to keep your customers entertained may seem a bit too fancy. However, it is a worthy investment because gaming consoles create an immersive entertainment experience.
They draw in avid gamers and their friends, keeping them occupied for hours and increasing bar sales. And just to give you an idea about how popular they are, around 245 million gamers used consoles in 2023.
45. Name That Tune
Name That Tune is a fun game that can bring strangers together. You don’t even need to spend extra money on this. Just play an unpopular song every now and then and award a prize (like a free drink) to anyone who guesses the name.
Organizing dance-offs energizes the atmosphere and draws in a lively crowd. It also extends the night, as customers stay longer and enjoy more refreshments.
Quarters is a drinking game where players attempt to bounce a quarter off a table or another surface and have it land inside a cup of alcohol. It’s a fun, social drinking game that encourages participation and adds excitement to bar gatherings.
48. Mini Golf
Mini golf creates a recreational atmosphere, especially in bars with outdoor spaces. It encourages longer stays and higher spending.
49. Giant Kerplunk
In this game, players take turns removing sticks from a cylindrical tube, trying to avoid letting marbles fall through the gaps.
Twister is a physical party game where players place their hands and feet on colored circles on a large floor mat. A designated person calls out commands like “left hand on red” or “right foot on green” and players must move accordingly. The last player remaining upright wins.
51. Beer Stein Holding Contest
A beer stein-holding contest involves holding a filled beer stein at arm’s length to test endurance. This engaging bar activity often results in longer stays, greater drink orders, and a lively atmosphere.
52. Kan Jam
Last but not least, Kan Jam is an outdoor team game blending frisbee and scoring, with the aim of throwing a disc into a slot on a large plastic container. It’s suitable for bars with outdoor spaces.
JD enjoys teaching people how to use ZoomShift to save time spent on scheduling. He’s curious, likes learning new things everyday and playing the guitar (although it’s a work in progress).