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7 Best Retro Board Games to Play in Bars

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Retro board games are a great addition to the standard selection of classic bar games like darts and pool.

Bars all over the country are taking on this latest trend by offering a wide selection of board games for adults to enjoy while spending time in their establishment.

Whether it’s happy hour or date night, grabbing one of these retro games to play while you enjoy a cold beer or smooth cocktail offers more than just your basic entertainment.


You’ll be flooded with pleasant memories from your childhood the moment you open the box.

And while you might have to familiarize yourself with the rules again, it will likely all come back to you after a few minutes of playing.

If you’re on a first date, board games are a great way to kill the awkward silence that often occurs when getting to know someone as you’ll be able to bond over a bit of friendly competition.

Not to mention that these games make a fantastic icebreaker when you’re looking for more players and can lead to budding new friendships with other patrons in the bar.

Whether you’re looking for a vintage game suitable for two of you prefer something the whole group can play, you’ll find it here on our list of the best retro board games to play in bars.

Best Retro Board Games

1. Connect Four

One of the best board games to play at a bar or on a date is Connect Four, as it’s designed for two players and there’s practically no skill involved.

Simply divide the game’s discs so that each person is designated a single color, and take turns dropping them into the board’s slots.

As the name of the game suggests, the first person to slide four discs into slots lined up in a row wins the round.

This classic board game follows the rules of tic-tac-toe, as you can win by stacking your pieces horizontally, vertically or diagonally.

If you happen to stumble upon a Connect Four board roughly four feet high, it’s not because you’ve drank too much and are starting to hallucinate.

The retro board game of Connect Four has been transformed into a jumbo lawn version that will turn any average night at the bar into an evening that won’t be soon forgotten.

With plenty of time to chat in between moves and minimal strategy required, this is the perfect board game to play when you’re looking forward to a casual evening for two.

Prefer to play on your own? Check out these fun single player board games.

2. Never Have I Ever

No longer a game for teenagers to play in their parent’s basements, Never Have I Ever has been converted into a board game for adults that will surely make you and your friends blush.

With hundreds of cards holding original “Never Have I Ever…” statements as well as a mix of “Truth or Dare?” options, you’ll be sure to learn far more about your mates than perhaps you’d like.

Own up to experiencing what the card says or take on a dare to move your game piece forward.

The first person to reach the other side of the board wins the game, but will likely lose the respect of the other players.

3. Jenga

A classic game of balance and concentration, Jenga can be played with an unlimited number of players.

By stacking a number of blocks, the point of the game is to remove a block from the middle and place it on top without knocking over the tower.

What makes this game ideal to play in a bar is watching how everyone’s hand-eye coordination gets worse as the night goes on. The more drinks had, the more hilarity will ensue.

Falling in line with the trend of enlarging our favorite retro board games, Jenga can also be found in bars as an over-sized lawn version so you can watch your shorter friends struggle alongside those who’ve had one too many drinks.

4. Operation

Even the steadiest of hands will have trouble performing during a game of Operation after a few pints, making it far more challenging to play with friends at a bar.

We all know how to play this one. Using tiny tweezers you have to extract a strange body part from the inside of a clown as he lays on an operating table.

You might recall some of these body parts as the Broken Heart, the Wish-Bone, the Funny Bone, and the Butterflies in Stomach.

If the tweezers touch the metal edge of the opening where the body part is being taken from, the game board makes a horrible buzzing noise and the clown’s big red nose lights up.

The more you drink, perhaps the better you’ll be at this one.

5. Battleship

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Another great board game for date night at the local pub is Battleship.

A game of strategy, Battleship allows you to show off your thinking skills, impressing your significant other with that thing that lies between your ears.

If you’ve never played this retro board game as a kid, the concept is quite simple.

Each player designates a spot on a grid for their fleet of battleships, using the board to hide their choices from their opponent.

Once decisions are final, each person takes turns guessing where the other has hidden their ships, making the appropriate sound effects when you’ve been hit of course.

Using pegs to mark each of your guesses, it’s only a matter of time before all battleships are sunk!

(Further reading: The best strategy board games for the bar)

6. Trivial Pursuit

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We all love to share the vast yet useless knowledge we’ve hoarded over the years, making Trivial Pursuit one of the top bar games adults love to play.

The questions test what you and your friends know on every imaginable topic, from science and history to television and sports.

There are even expansion packs that will test your knowledge of specific movies, books, or more.

The first person to answer a question correctly in each category as they make their way around the board wins.

Just imagine discussing the U.S. Founding Fathers and debating their contributions to the formation of the Constitution after having a few cocktails. Definitely sounds like a night of fun!

7. Guess Who

When you’re a duo at the bar, Guess Who is the go-to retro board game if you’re looking for a ton of laughs.

Each player gets their own board which is full of photos of people with incredibly prominent features such as crazy mustaches, funny glasses, and abstract hairstyles.

After selecting a single card from the deck that depicts one of these unique characters, you then ask your opponent yes or no questions that will help you figure out which character they pulled from the stack.

Taking on this game in a bar provides the perfect combination of booze and entertainment – there’s nothing more satisfying than watching your opponent’s face as you knock down numerous flipped up tiles on your board after they’ve answered your question.

Next time you’re looking for something to do, take a trip down memory lane and head to a bar in your area that carries old school board games.

The nostalgia alone will bring excitement to your evening, and you’ll start to wonder why you ever stopped playing these games in the first place.


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