Loading your recommendations…

Throw Down at Durham Bars with Games and Activities

Estimated Read Time:
6 minutes

Show your competitive side while you socialize at Durham bars with games and activities.

Posted By Kristin Bedinger on Feb 07, 2024

Sometimes posting up at the bar or a table with a drink just doesn’t fit your vibe for the evening. If you’re feeling more like a competitor than a conversationalist, there are many options for you to show your skill at popular bar games and more obscure activities, or gain insights through readings, workshops, seminars and courses while you socialize at Durham’s bars, arcades, pool halls and more.

Many of Durham’s bars also host regular community events like trivia nights, run clubs, game nights, seasonal events and more. Check our event calendar for dates and details.

Where to Play Board and Arcade Games in Durham

Moon Dog Meadery – 1104 Broad St., Suite C

What to do: Board Games
Moon Dog is one of Durham’s top meeting spots for board game enthusiasts, where game rentals are $5 and free on Mondays and Tuesdays, plus customers are welcome to bring their own games and claim a table for a round. Moon Dog is also a meadery that produces more than five varieties of the fermented honey drink, all served on tap and in bottles and tasting flights at the bar. Beer drinkers also enjoy the selection of more than 200 brews.

DJ’s Dive – 3219 Old Chapel Hill Rd.

What to do: Arcade Games, Billiards, Darts
The name says it all at this neighborhood dive near the 15-501 corridor. Stop in for no-frills fun and friendly conversation with Durhamites from the surrounding communities, plus plenty of pool tables, dart boards, games and other activities.

Boxcar Bar + Arcade – 621 Foster St.

What to do: Arcade Games
Boxcar is a gamer’s paradise where vintage pinball and arcade games share space with interactive racing games, Dance Dance Revolution, air hockey and more. The sprawling bar, outdoor space and on-site pizza kitchen keep the non-gamers entertained while kids and adults play to their heart’s content. Minors are welcome with a parent before 7 p.m. daily, and dogs are welcome.

Bargoers enjoy the classic arcade games at Boxcar Bar + Arcade in downtown Durham.

Drinks and games at Boxcar Bar & Arcade. Photo: Boxcar Bar & Arcade

Where to Play Pool, Darts and Shuffleboard in Durham

The Tavern – 1900 W. Markham Ave.

What to do: Arcade Games, Billiards, Darts
At this neighborhood bar in the Ninth Street district, enjoy bar food and sports on the tv as you compete at arcade games, pool tables and dart boards. If you stay into the evening, expect more of a crowd with live music, karaoke and regular events.

The Green Room – 1108 Broad St.

What to do: Billiards, Darts, Shuffleboard
This iconic Durham pool hall is a neighborhood gathering spot with a loyal following that gained notoriety when it was featured in the movie Bull Durham. Now operating for more than thirty years, The Green Room remains an unassuming spot for pool sharks and casual players to gather with a beer. The ten antique pool tables offer plenty of space for those who want to play a round, and the no-frills atmosphere makes it comfortable enough to stay a while.

Accordion Club – 316 W. Geer St.

What to do: Billiards, Darts
The Geer Street and Rigsbee Avenue intersection is a hub of casual bars and nightlife in Durham. Steps up Geer from the cross street, you’ll find this beloved, classic dive, open 365 days a year starting at 11 a.m. Adjust your eyes to the dim light as you walk in the front door and say hi to the regulars before you begin a round of pool or darts. Hot dogs and frito pies will keep you satiated for the long haul, and you can always take a break on the back patio when you’re ready for a little sunlight and fresh air.

Kotuku Surf Club – 703 Rigsbee Ave.

What to do: Bocce, Darts, Shuffleboard
Also in the vicinity of the Rigsbee Avenue and Geer Street intersection, Kotuku Surf Club has a sprawling outdoor area that often hosts food trucks, DJs and daytime vintage markets. There’s also a set of bocce courts in the back. Head inside for a game of darts or shuffleboard in the labyrinth of booth-lined rooms.

West End Billiards – 601 W. Main St., Suite A

What to do: Billiards, Darts, Shuffleboard
West End Billiards is a bar and event space with pool, darts, shuffleboard and a modern, industrial vibe. Plenty of tvs make it easy to play a game and watch a game at the same time, making the bar a popular choice for sports fans.

Bars with Activities for Groups

Urban Axes – 619 Foster St.

What to do: Axe Throwing
At the Durham location of the small chain that helped popularize axe throwing as a social and team-building activity as well as a competitive sport, book a throwing session for a group or stop by during daily walk-in hours, which stay updated on the Urban Axes website. Enjoy a beer, wine or cider at the bar (no hard liquor on account of the axes being thrown). Kids 12 and up who are accompanied by an adult are welcome to join except on Fridays and Saturdays after 5 p.m. Closed-toe shoes are required.

Crafts & Drafts NC – 3117 Guess Rd., Suite B

What do to: Crafts
Crafts and Drafts centers attention more on the crafts and activities than on the bar atmosphere but offers a full beer and wine menu for guests to enjoy. While crafting is not required for all patrons, there are DIY projects and kits available to suit lots of interests and experience levels. Themed nights attract like-minded folks for interest-based projects, couples’ nights and many others while projects range from painting to woodworking, glass etching, cross stitching, terrariums and more. Kids are welcome with a parent, but the space is primarily designed for adults.

Bars with Other Activities

Night School Bar – 719 N. Mangum St.

What to do: Classes, Seminars & Workshops
Night School Bar is democratizing education by offering donation-based evening classes in the arts and humanities in a casual, social setting. Expert instructors, many of which have PhDs and MFAs teach in a seminar format that encourages students to participate. Classes are organized around specific topics like film, literature, philosophy, writing, gender and race studies and more. Join the discourse around timely topics and have fun, make friends and enjoy a beverage while you’re at it.

Arcana Bar and Lounge – 331 W. Main St.

What to do: Tarot Readings
Arcana has a speakeasy vibe, hidden back entrance and all, great cocktails, regular events and tarot card readings. Gain insight and guidance into an area of your life while you enjoy a cocktail or mocktail. Arcana’s tarot readers bring years of experience and their own unique decks. Walk in most nights between 8-11 p.m. for a reading and sign up for the wait list if there’s a line.

Hunky Dory – 718 Ninth St.

What to do: Record store
Hunky Dory is, first and foremost, designed to be a neighborhood hangout on Ninth Street. It’s particularly geared toward vinyl enthusiasts or those who are thinking about starting their collection and enjoy local beer. Flip through new and used records as you enjoy the sweet sound of vinyl, and even bring records from your collection to sell to the shop.

About the Author

Kristin Bedinger - Sr. Manager of Content
Send An Email

Lover of plants, books, wine, cooking for my friends and hanging with my pup, Arlo. Find me trying every new bar and restaurant in Durham the moment it opens.