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Photo: Velocity Five

Eater's Summer Guide to Bars with Games

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Summer's always been the season of play.

In grade school, once June hit and classes were out of session, parents and teachers released kids into the wilds of neighborhood pools, baseball fields and parks.

But playtime doesn't have to stop into adulthood, does it? Bars, always in the fun and games racket, have plenty of activities in which patrons can partake while swilling down margaritas and gin and tonics. By and large, the old-school games like darts and foosball are still in the mix, though bar games have expanded, too. There are the (slightly) more athletic pursuits of Bocce and cornhole, while board games once reserved for quiet family bonding nights are now finding homes at pubs and nightspots too.

Here are 10 D.C.-area bars that grown-up gamers should put on their checklist this summer.
—Dena Levitz

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

The Board Room

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Any list of bars with games has to start with this year-old space revolving around dozens of board games available to rent. Challenge friends to Hungry Hungry Hippos, Boggle, even Settlers of Catan. The bar doesn’t serve grub, but the loser can be made to order from one of the nearby eateries and have it delivered.

H Street Country Club

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If swinging clubs is more your speed, venture to H Street for eight holes of miniature golf – and backdrops that are D.C.-centric – on the second floor of this Mexican cuisine mecca. On Mondays and Tuesdays, patrons who order dinner play free. Downstairs features skeeball and shuffleboard.

Trusty's

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Customers can test their smarts over a Mason jar full of beer. This Hill East institution has Trivial Pursuit, Jenga and Sorry, amongst other board games. The recent addition of its patio “Bus Bar” on the second level also expands on the childhood theme with nostalgic touches like thermos chandeliers and lunch box lights.

Rock & Roll Hotel

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Think of a boozier, grown-up version of the documentary “Spellbound.” Each turn at the microphone, the host might insult the contestant, force them to spell obscure pornographic terms or take pity on them with an elementary school-level word. That’s the crux of Rock n Roll Hotel’s Friday night "Spelling Buzz." Participating and spectating are equally entertaining.

Comet Ping Pong

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Forrest Gump, if based in the District, might become a regular at this Friendship Heights pizzeria, which boasts an entire table tennis room. Comet is family-friendly while also attracting hipsters in search of live musical acts and an array of beers on tap. Even using the facilities can become a game, with a bathroom that’s hidden behind large paneled walls.

Vinoteca Wine Bar & Bistro

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Step outside and you’re transported to a European courtyard that doubles as Vinoteca’s outside bar and bocce area. Mondays and Tuesdays this U Street neighborhood wine bar is overtaken with bocce league play; the rest of the time the court’s open to all.

Continental Modern Pool Lounge

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Clearly, there are pool tables. The brightly colored Rosslyn bar also boasts four full-sized shuffle board tables, skeeball, ping pong and Nintendo Wii to round out its selection of games. Most activities are rented out by the hour, and Continental serves up a large selection of tap beers to keep patrons refreshed.

The Fairgrounds

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Adjacent to the Washington National’s Stadium is an ever-expanding hub of pre- and post-game activity. The Fairgrounds began as a small, tented beer garden and has now blossomed into so much more. It’s an outdoor festival of sorts with food trucks, merchandise, live music and games in the form of cornhole and Fast Pitch, where fans can try to be Strasburg.

Penn Social

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Spread out across a 13,000 square feet area Penn Social is many things to many different audiences: a place to hear comedy, a bar for sports-watching or a live music destination. The most fun, though, might be the bottom floor of games, including classic arcade, skeeball, shuffleboard and foosball. Penn Social also has become a major gathering point for Bocce and cornhole league participants.

Velocity 5 - Falls Church

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Velocity Five (multiple locations) is known as a sports bar, but it's also the home to one of the city's social skee ball leagues. There's cornhole and a basketball shooting machine on the premises as well.

The Board Room

Any list of bars with games has to start with this year-old space revolving around dozens of board games available to rent. Challenge friends to Hungry Hungry Hippos, Boggle, even Settlers of Catan. The bar doesn’t serve grub, but the loser can be made to order from one of the nearby eateries and have it delivered.

H Street Country Club

If swinging clubs is more your speed, venture to H Street for eight holes of miniature golf – and backdrops that are D.C.-centric – on the second floor of this Mexican cuisine mecca. On Mondays and Tuesdays, patrons who order dinner play free. Downstairs features skeeball and shuffleboard.

Trusty's

Customers can test their smarts over a Mason jar full of beer. This Hill East institution has Trivial Pursuit, Jenga and Sorry, amongst other board games. The recent addition of its patio “Bus Bar” on the second level also expands on the childhood theme with nostalgic touches like thermos chandeliers and lunch box lights.

Rock & Roll Hotel

Think of a boozier, grown-up version of the documentary “Spellbound.” Each turn at the microphone, the host might insult the contestant, force them to spell obscure pornographic terms or take pity on them with an elementary school-level word. That’s the crux of Rock n Roll Hotel’s Friday night "Spelling Buzz." Participating and spectating are equally entertaining.

Comet Ping Pong

Forrest Gump, if based in the District, might become a regular at this Friendship Heights pizzeria, which boasts an entire table tennis room. Comet is family-friendly while also attracting hipsters in search of live musical acts and an array of beers on tap. Even using the facilities can become a game, with a bathroom that’s hidden behind large paneled walls.

Vinoteca Wine Bar & Bistro

Step outside and you’re transported to a European courtyard that doubles as Vinoteca’s outside bar and bocce area. Mondays and Tuesdays this U Street neighborhood wine bar is overtaken with bocce league play; the rest of the time the court’s open to all.

Continental Modern Pool Lounge

Clearly, there are pool tables. The brightly colored Rosslyn bar also boasts four full-sized shuffle board tables, skeeball, ping pong and Nintendo Wii to round out its selection of games. Most activities are rented out by the hour, and Continental serves up a large selection of tap beers to keep patrons refreshed.

The Fairgrounds

Adjacent to the Washington National’s Stadium is an ever-expanding hub of pre- and post-game activity. The Fairgrounds began as a small, tented beer garden and has now blossomed into so much more. It’s an outdoor festival of sorts with food trucks, merchandise, live music and games in the form of cornhole and Fast Pitch, where fans can try to be Strasburg.

Penn Social

Spread out across a 13,000 square feet area Penn Social is many things to many different audiences: a place to hear comedy, a bar for sports-watching or a live music destination. The most fun, though, might be the bottom floor of games, including classic arcade, skeeball, shuffleboard and foosball. Penn Social also has become a major gathering point for Bocce and cornhole league participants.

Velocity 5 - Falls Church

Velocity Five (multiple locations) is known as a sports bar, but it's also the home to one of the city's social skee ball leagues. There's cornhole and a basketball shooting machine on the premises as well.

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