For people nostalgic for the arcade, those who love busting out board games at the cabin, or even if you simply don’t know how to sit still when there’s a lull in the conversation, barcades and board game bars are here to make sure you and your whole table are entertained.
If you and your friends are tired of playing against each other online, make your next game night a social one. Whether you like to roll dice, or you’d rather show off how you earned your pinball champion crown, there’s a bar for you and your game-loving friends.
Come for the drinks and snacks, and stay to play! Here are a few of our favourite game bars that are great for your whole crew (or even just a match of one on one) across Metro Vancouver.
By Marisa Chandler
Serving up burgers and fries with a side of friendly competition ranging from ping pong and pool to video games and redemption games (where you earn credits to redeem for prizes), the Rec Room is the perfect place for big group hangs and parties. Accessible by SkyTrain via the Millennium Line at Brentwood Town Centre station.
What to play: The redemption games and VRX Car Simulator set the Rec Room apart from the rest of the barcades!
1920 Willingdon Ave Unit 21-06
At the Raving Gamer Bistro in Langley, you’ll have anything but a “bored” game night! Their wide selection of board games ranges from classics like Jenga, Scrabble, and Monopoly to more recent crowd pleasers like Codenames and Exploding Kittens. Looking for something a little more niche? You’re likely to find it, and you can peruse what games they’ve got in store on their website. With a vegan and brunch menu, there’s something on the menu and in the game library for everyone, day or night. Take the #562 Langley Centre Bus and its under a ten minute walk from Langley Centre Loop.
What to play: There’s lots of hidden treasures in the Raving Gamer collection, we recommend trying out something more out of the ordinary like Love Letter (a game of risk, intrigue and deduction), Seikatsu (for a little competitive gardening) or Haiku Slam–created by one of their very own!
106 – 5735, 203rd Street
At Pizzeria Ludica the board games are free and the pizza is worth the visit. To make it easy, they’ve categorized their games into party games, quick games, light-weight, medium-weight and heavy-weight games to make it easy for you to grab what you want from the shelf based on the level of game (and the size of your group.) Located near the Columbia SkyTrain Station via the Expo Line.
What to play: Depends on if you want a party game or heavy weight game–we recommend browsing the online catalog beforehand.
601 Carnarvon Street
Step into the past at Capital City Classic Arcade. Specializing in 80s and 90s arcade classics, retro games like Ms Pac-Man and Donkey Kong are fun for new and nostalgic players. When you start getting peckish, check out the “Design Your Own Nachos” bar. Capital City is all ages, and also licensed (beer and more available, and it’s just a short walk from Sapperton Skytrain Station.
What to play: You could spend all night playing Super Mario Bros, but why not mix it up and try making your way through the monster-infested mazes in Wizard of Wor. Where else would you get the chance to play it?
457 E. Columbia St.
A shiny new upgrade on the original arcades it’s inspired by, Glitch in Kitsilano is an 80s-90s style barcade featuring a daily happy hour, slushy margaritas, and a variety of pub classics. Try their smash burgers!
What to play: There’s lots of great retro arcade games to choose from, but who can say no to at least one game of Skee Ball.
2287 West Broadway
Turquoise Goat Board Game Café is as fun, and colourful as it sounds! Games, snacks and good vibes is their motto, serving up delicious and bright cocktails (some topped with candy!) and drinks alongside classic games like Candyland alongside newly invented board games. Did we mention there’s no tipping because staff is paid a living wage? Now that’s a game we can get behind.
What to play: Look out for some local talent, they highlight local creators and have hundreds of games in their library.
122 West Hastings Street
Back and Forth does carry board games, but the real fun and games are happening at the ping pong tables (it is a Ping Pong bar after all!) They have 6 tables that can be reserved by the hour. The perfect, friendly competition to start or end your evening. Located in Chinatown.
What to play: Ping pong (of course!)
303 Columbia Street
Pac-Man and Pinball to mini basketball, the games at Greta include vintage and state of the art. Centrally located in Downtown Vancouver, it’s a great spot to gather with friends.
What to play: Street fighter or Pong
50 West Cordova
There are many ways to get to each of these spots in Metro Vancouver by transit. Visit TransLink’s Trip Planner to find your way.