Let the games (and drinks) begin

Finding bar games in the City of Destiny

By Christina Butcher on January 11, 2018

Is it just us, or has the world of bar games expanded far beyond the classic lineup of darts, pool and hook and ring toss? Don't get us wrong, any bar game can turn a lackluster outing into an evening of lighthearted fun, but a little variety never hurts. Luckily, Tacoma's bar scene is packed with sundry bar games meant to entertain even the crankiest of patrons.

A great way to start any night is with a few thumb-whirring games of pinball, and there's no better place to do that than The Triple Knock. A relatively new addition to Tacoma, The Triple Knock is an arcade-style bar equipped with 23 pinball machines, spiked slushies and a decent selection of beer. It also boasts weekly pinball tournaments for anyone looking to "take it to the next level." 2713 6th Ave., Tacoma, facebook.com/thetripleknock

A less conventional game to hit Tacoma's bar scene last year is bocce. The Italian lawn-bowling game can only be found at one place in the City of Destiny: the Bavarian beer hall Rhein Haus. With four indoor bocce ball courts tucked among the venue's bars and fireplaces, Rhein Haus is the perfect locale to perfect your bocce skills without sacrificing warmth or style. Each court is decked out with green felt underfoot and rich, polished-wood railing on all sides. 649 Division Ave., Tacoma, rheinhaustacoma.com

For a little tabletop fun, try your hand at the foosball and skeeball, both of which are offered at The Swiss. Both games can be found in The Swiss' game area, which is past the main bar. A few rounds of foosball or skeeball are guaranteed to leave you with warm, fuzzy revelries of high school days spent at the arcade. 1904 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma, theswisspub.com

Speaking of arcade games, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention Dorky's Arcade, an ever-popular bar and arcade combo in downtown Tacoma. Dorky's has more than 100 classic arcade and pinball machines, including old-school favorites like Pacman, Donkey Kong and Tron. In true arcade style, Dorky's games are interspersed among open, darkened rooms you can amble between while sipping from one of more than 100 beer and cider choices at the arcade. 754 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, dorkysarcade.com

If you're hoping for a more relaxed experience, you can always fall back on a good old game of pool. Malarkey's Pool & Brew is one of Tacoma's best-known pool halls. The venue is a bit gritty and sparse in décor, but what it lacks in style, it makes up for with ample shooting room at each pool table. A strong drink and a competitive game of doubles make this a dependable option for pool players. 445 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma, malarkeysonline.com

The perfect game of shuffleboard can be found at Engine House No. 9, a historic fire station turned restaurant and brewery on 6th Ave. An 18-foot shuffleboard waits for you in Engine House's Atrium Room, just off the main bar area. There, you'll find enough elbow room to send your puck down the plank with one hand and keep your beer safely nestled in the other. Engine House No. 9 also produces its award-winning beer in-house, so there's no reason to end the night after only one game of shuffleboard.  611 N. Pine St., Tacoma, ehouse9.com

Perhaps one of the original tavern games, and definitely one of the simplest, darts is available at one of Tacoma's quaint neighborhood bars, Parkway Tavern. While Parkway looks like an unassuming single-family-home from the curbside, it's actually an intimate, low-key beer bar with a backroom filled with bar games. 313 N. I St., Tacoma, parkwaytavern.com