Bars and Restaurants with Games Keep Guests Entertained

There are many types of games that have made their way to restaurants and bars, adding an extra dimension to your dining experience. Gaming is not just a great way to promote your business, it can also help you build trust between the staff and customers, and turn occasional guests into loyal patrons. 

There are many games that you could bring into your home, depending on the amount of money you have available. It might be easier to just have a few dartboards and billiard tables. Stocking board games and dry erase boards can be a great way to have more fun. Or you might decide to take gaming to the next level, whether it’s putting in shuffleboard or bocce courts, a live video gaming room or hosting a bingo btunch with live entertainers.

For more information on bar or restaurant games that bring people together, keep reading.

7 Tips to make your restaurant more efficient

This guide will walk you through the future-proof restaurant tactics that’ll add flexibility to your business—a key to thriving in the new world of hospitality.


Games for children in restaurants

You can offer your children crayons, paper, and a variety of games if you are a family-friendly place. You can play party games such as freeze dance or musical chairs. Or you could make your kids ask their parents for dinner.

For inspiration on an approach that requires less attention from your staff, some restaurant chains like Applebee’s and Buffalo Wild Wings offer tabletop gaming tablets for kids (and the young at heart). Consider what games your customer might enjoy with their children.


Trivia at bars and restaurants

There are many bars that host trivia events, whether they hire someone to do it, use one of their servers, or have them hosted by a company. This gives trivia enthusiasts the opportunity to enjoy a consistent activity that they are passionate about and encourages them to return on a daily basis. You can expect your guests to need extra food and drink to sustain the fun. Trivia nights are also competitive. 

Your trivia night could be general, themed to match your bar or restaurant’s concept or rotated weekly to focus on a different topic such as movies, TV, music or history. We have more ideas.To get you started.


In bars and restaurants, board games

You may have an old collection of board games in your home that would be great for your restaurant. Take them with you and watch what happens. Some bars or restaurants will provide a dedicated area for board games. You can browse through all the board games, from Risk to Taboo to Scrabble, and then play or challenge others to friendly games. Make sure that your board gaming area is visible to guests, or ask servers to inform them while they are at their tables.

Some establishments even make board games their entire concept like Dayton, Ohio’s D20. It’s a bar that boasts both an extensive beer and board game collection, and there’s not one television in the place.

D20 in Dayton OH

If you have the space and outdoor area to set up some life-size games such as giant Jenga or Connect 4, or even corn toss, It’s a great way to keep patrons eating and drinking a bit longer.


In bars and restaurants, darts

Darts are the perfect pub game. They’ve been enjoyed since before World War II in pubs throughout Europe and North America, so why neglect the historic trend? You can make it a regular event by offering league play and prizes. This could spark curiosity and give guests a reason to return often. 


In bars and restaurants, video games

For a small fee, guests may play old arcade games in pubs and restaurants. There’s something very nostalgic about offering games like Frogger and PacMan, complete with a joystick. Take, for example: San Diego’s Coin-OpThe bar is an extreme gaming venue. It features old-school arcade hits and a speakeasy entrance that was inspired by Tron.

A bartender at Coin-Op in San Diego readies his bar. In the background are some of the bar's vintage video game machines.

Coin-Op in San Diego, CA

Let’s face it though, those arcade games can be expensive and take up a lot of precious space. Your video game selections have also evolved with video games. Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox make live gaming a sport—just set up a few screens for guests who want to jump in and play, or promote Fortnite battle events and MarioKart racing challenges.

You can also spread the word. The idea is when people search for “restaurants with video games near me,” you want your establishment to come up.


Bingo brunches

If you want a fun game that doesn’t cost much but attracts a crowd, consider offering a Bingo brunch on the weekends. Although bingo is an old favorite, it can become boring or stale quickly. You have to host it by someone engaging and super fun. Many restaurants opt for drag brunches that include bingo or games played by local drag queens.


Do you want to be a part of the next generation?

Here are some questions to help you get started with fun games and entertainment at your bar/restaurant.

  • Which demographics are my clients?
  • What days and times are slow for me?
  • Do I want to draw a new audience or to encourage my guests to stay longer?
  • Can I bring in any gaming tables and other equipment?
  • Which type of bingo or trivia might work well in my restaurant?

After you have established your goals and identified the ideal times for games-related activities, it is time to start testing and experimenting. Spread the word about the event and encourage guests to share it on social media. You can make your restaurant known by being a place that has games. This will help to generate buzz and attract more guests.

If you’re looking for a technology partner to help manage your restaurant and streamline operations so you can focus on more of the fun stuff, talk to one of our experts to learn more about How Small Biz Sense Can Help.

Cyndy Lane

Cyndy is business journalist with a focus on entrepreneurship and small business. With over a decade of experience covering the startup and small business landscape, Cyndy has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, insightful and approachable journalist. She has a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners and is able to explain them in a way that is relatable and actionable for her readers.