London is steeped in history and culture, and the pubs are no exception. Better yet, so many pubs are now stepping up their game, transforming them into one stop spots for entertainment, which, beyond decent grub and ale, includes gaming.
If you’re more partial to a night having a giggle with some games at the pub than making shapes down the clubs, then we’ve got you covered with our Top 10 list of quirky pubs with games in London. Still like to dance? Most of them have great live music and DJs too.
1. The Four Thieves: escape room, arcade, VR + more
Where: Battersea / Clapham SW11 1DJ
Games / Quirks: Escape rooms, retro arcade, crazy golf, RC racing and Virtual Reality station
The Four Thieves takes the gaming pub bar to a whole new level. Not only do they have not one but two of our escape rooms, they also have a fully functioning retro arcade, crazy golf and an RC racetrack. They were also the world’s first pub to have a Virtual Reality station, so you can hang out with a bevvy and slay zombies or explore the universe.
2. All Star Lanes: a bowling experience with a twist
Where: Holborn WC1B 4DA (+ Shoreditch, Stratford, White City)
Games / Quirks: Bowling, arcade, karaoke, roller girl cocktails, 1940s vibes
Why strike out at a standard ol’ bowling alley when you can get pub vibes and American Diner treats on the side? The twist? It’s Roller Girl chic with plenty of cocktail options and there’s also some cheeky karaoke booths if you’re game. A girls’ night out haven if you will. According to them, you’ll love it:
“If you’re cool you own a pair of Doc Martens. You’re also, like, addicted to Neighbours and Saturday nights are all about Blind Date with Miss Cilla Black followed by Gladiators. Let’s hear an “Awooga” for Jet, and a “You’re a freak” for Rhino.”
3. The Hope: get pied trying to escape the room
Where: Farringdon EC1M 6BH
Games / Quirks: Escape room, gin parlour, award-winning pies, architecture
This historical pub established in 1790 is renowned for its beautiful architecture and award-winning pies. People also flock to The Hope to sample their tasty nectar in their gin parlour. But hidden in the depths of the pub there is also an escape room. Lady Chastity’s Reserve has been residing up the twisted stairway of this little gem for over a year now. She’s a keeper.
4. London Shuffle Club: everyday I’m shuffling
Where: Shoreditch E1 6AW
Games / Quirks: Shuffle lanes, wood-fire pizza, slushie cocktails
What better way to spice things up for your first date or keep your mates buzzing than having a good shuffle? Not only do they have shuffle lanes to play with, they also create delicious pizzas in their wood-fired ovens - nom. You can then wash it down and stay hydrated with an ice cold slushie cocktail. Well, hello London Shuffle Club - we want to be in you.
5. People’s Park Tavern: escape room & crazy golf
Where: Hackney E9 7BT
Games / Quirks: Escape room, plonk crazy golf, art gallery, hacienda garden
A great pick if you’re east side and looking for somewhere to chill for the afternoon. At People’s Park Tavern you can enjoy a twisted game of Lady Chastity’s Reserve and guzzle your winning bottle of wine (if you’re one of the lucky ones) in their award-winning hacienda garden. You can also have a browse of their art gallery or put balls in holes on their Plonk Crazy Golf course, which they boast as:
“9 holes of action packed fun with water hazards, loop the loop and tricky little bends that risks shooting that ball back at you and ruining your round.”
6. The Four Quarters: London’s first arcade bar
Where: Peckham SE15 4TP
Games / Quirks: Arcade including 10 retro consoles, 15 original arcade cabs, themed parties
Oh, the memories. Down the arcade shoving pennies in slots in gleeful belief that this time, this time you’re going to win… well, more pennies. The Four Quarters is perched in a perky patch of Peckham’s Rye Lane, perfect for you pesky gamers (an extra little tongue twister just for you).
It’s not just any old arcade though, no no no. They are packing 15 original arcade cabs and 10 retro consoles. All the consoles are free to play, just bring some coins for the pinball tables if you want to ping some balls with your significant other.
7. The Depot: A weird and wonderful twisted toy shop
Where: North London (Near King’s Cross) N7 9EF
Games / Quirks: Escape room, gin bar, all round historical gaff
The only venue to house our one-of-a-kind escape room Poppa Plock’s Wonky Workshop. The Depot is in a naughty nook of North London close to Caledonian Road and King’s Cross. Well, naughty if you want it to be. You can get into all kinds of trouble at our escape room with our toy soldier host Wynne or enjoy some banter with our ventriloquist dummy Oki. Once you’re feeling sufficiently creeped out, you can enjoy their tasty pizzas and craft keg beers. Oh, what a night indeed.
8. Swingers: get your swing on with The Gherkin
Where: Bury Street EC3A 8AL
Games / Quirks: 18 hole crazy golf, planty vibes, trio of restaurants
Well, that sounds rather saucy! Except we’re not talking about your late night swinging antics (put that gherkin away) - we’re talking about golfing, silly. At the foot of The Gherkin in London you get to enjoy 18 holes (definitely not talking about your antics) of immensely creative mini golf.
Not only do you get to score some holes, you can also enjoy the planty vibes surrounded by natural details and foliage. They also have a trio of restaurants to get your gob around. Not feeling The Gherkin? There is now a new location in the West End. Ooh fancy.
9. St James of Bermondsey: live experience gaming with AR
Where: Bermondsey, SE16 4QZ
Games / Quirks: Operation Mindfall AR street game, craft ales, cosy village pub vibes
Well, hello our new friend. This is our brand spanking new game gaff for Operation Mindfall. A cheeky AR street game that takes you and your mates on an adventures across Bermondsey. After a debrief and sufficient pint filler at the pub, you’ll make your way around the rich history, gourmet food stalls and Maltby Street Market ‘beer mile’ (that’s a marathon we can get behind).
They may be new to ye ol’ live experience gaming milarki, but they know their craft ales and give you the perfect cosy village pub HQ for your gaming experience.
10. The Bat & Ball: ping pong, pool and live sports
Where: Stratford, E20 1EJ
Games / Quirks: Two floors of ping pong, pool tables, live sports, Well Street Pizza
Why spend your evening at a fancy London pub trying to make conversation when you can play some bat and ball with a drink in hand? There’s two floors of bats, balls and tables all there for you to get your ping pong thrills. They also have pool and live sports, because not everyone enjoys a good ping. Sorted.
Even if you don’t have the table tennis skills, you might just accidentally pong one over to ‘that’ table with those fitties you would never have the guts to approach. Geekiest way to meet your next beau ever! To top it off you can shove some Well Street Pizzas in your face, because they’re ‘well street’ they are.
A cheeky little map to help you plan your game night
Now, get your game on and get down the pub
As the cold weather sets in, it’s tempting to hibernate. Leaving those summer pub garden memories to wither away into the distance. Don’t be that person. The console may be your old friend but it’s time to listen to your Ma and make an effort to ‘get out more’.
If the idea of going clubbing fills you with a sense of dread and into a harrowing flashback of that time Tracy threw up her red wine belly full all over your white tee (vivid, but sadly accurate), then get yourself along to one of these gaming pubs. Winning.
Want to get your game on for Crimbo this year? You can also check out these Christmas live experience gaming night ideas.