14 Austin bars where you can play games

11:54 a.m. Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 Things to Do
Kyser Lough for American-Statesman. Vigilante Gaming Bar has customized tables where you can eat, drink and play board games without hassle.

Sometimes all you need for a night out with friends is a pint of beer or snifter of whiskey — but having a game to play can take your night up a notch. Looking for a local watering hole where you can show off your Scrabble skills or pinball prowess? Here’s a roundup of some of the best places.

We can’t start this list without mention of one of the most obvious bars for a game night: Vigilante Gaming Bar.

Specifically for the nerd in all of us, Vigilante opened in January at 7010 Easy Wind Dr. with already quite a stockpile of more than 150 games: everything from classic chess to Cards Against Humanity to Magic: the Gathering, as well as far more obscure titles. 

The bar’s co-founders gave thought to every little detail that might enhance the gamer experience, right down to the custom tables equipped with an “Accio Server!” button you can push for service. Vigilante focuses on local beer for its selection of booze and also has an on-site chef who prepares food you can eat without interrupting playtime. 

It’s hard to beat that, although the Emerald Tavern Games & Cafe at 9012 Research Blvd. has been around longer, since the fall of 2013, and offers much of the same, including food, in a slightly different setting.

Modeled after an English pub, the Emerald Tavern offers more than 300 games and makes it easy for you to choose one by labeling how long it’s expected to take and how many people can play it at a time. Drinks there include English ales that you can mix together for combinations like the Chocolate Truffle: a Belhaven Black Stout topped off with Lindeman’s Framboise.

And did you fall in love with the game and wish you could play it more often? Emerald Tavern doubles as a store and has a stock of games for purchase.

Other game-friendly bars:

Punch Bowl Social is a paradise for adults who want to play pool, ping pong or other games during their night out.