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16 SF Bars With Great Arcade Games

Pitchers, pinball, and Pac-Man

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In an era of online and iPhone gaming, the concept of playing pinball with a group of friends in public has taken on a retro-chic appeal. Bars like Emporium and Brewcade have blossomed around the concept, but “games in bars is nothing new,” Emporium co-founder Danny Marks told Eater SF.

Before 1980, the only place to play games was at bars and restaurants. Atari’s cofounder even invented Chuck E. Cheese as a place for people to hang out and play on his company’s new toys. It might not be necessary anymore, but the fun of sharing a pitcher of beer and a bunch of tokens for games hasn’t gone away. Here are 16 bars and restaurants with great games to get in on the action.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Wreck Room

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1390 California St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 932-6715
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The divey, Polk-adjacent Wreck Room will transport drinkers to a tricked-out frat basemen. If that’s your thing, head in for games including skee-ball, shuffle board, darts, and even a boxing game with a real punching bag.

2. Golden Gate Tap Room

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449 Powell St
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 677-9999
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A Union Square adult playground and bar with skee-ball, foosball, and screens to watch any other kind of ball, Golden Gate Taproom’s claim to fame is more than 100 beers available at any given time. There’s plenty of pub grub, too, and games like Big Buck Hunter keep patrons coming back for more.

3. Fifth Arrow

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430 Mason St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 872-5744
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In addition to bowling, pizza, and cocktails, visitors to Fifth Arrow (the former Slide bar) will find arcade games like skee-ball and pinball to play. It’s a nice distraction as you wait for a show at upstairs August Hall — though you don’t need a ticket to swing by Fifth Arrow for food, drinks, and entertainment.

4. Emperor Norton's BoozeLand

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510 Larkin St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 926-8118
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Emperor Norton’s, named for a famed San Francisco eccentric, attracts contemporary kooks of all kinds. It’s a Tenderloin watering hole with a worn-in, non-judgmental atmosphere, plus some video games, shuffleboard, and so forth.

5. Coin-Op Game Room

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508 4th St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(628) 444-3277
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San Diego-founded arcade bar business Coin-Op moved into its massive, 10,000 square-foot SoMa space in 2016, bringing a boatload of cheap-to-play old school games with it. Fun snacks (tots, fried chicken, and doughnuts) plus cocktails round out the experience. For a bit more intimacy, head upstairs to the Tron-inspired speakeasy, the Grid, which patrons enter through a door disguised as a vintage Tron arcade game.

Coin-Op Game Room

6. Trademark & Copyright

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1123 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 738-8838
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This split-personality bar (or duo of bars) has quality cocktails on one side and standard sports bar fare on the other, plus a mini arcade to keep everyone entertained. Ideal for game nights of all kinds.

7. Emporium SF - Arcade Bar Venue

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616 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117

Emporium, a Chicago-based mini-chain of arcade bars, filled a long-vacant, 12,000 square-foot theater on Divisadero with more than 50 arcade games, pinball machines, and tabletop diversions — plus the countless early-20s patrons who play them. It’s already a hugely popular destination for gaming, beer-drinking (there’s a great selection), and general carousing on weekends.

8. BuzzWorks

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365 11th St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 558-1533
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This buzzing sports bar has several pool tables, foosball, and a row of arcade games to keep patrons fully stimulated. On top of drinks (beer and wine only) and food from their own kitchen (nachos, sausages, etc) they’ve got a deal with neighbors at DNA Pizza, which is ideal for feeding a crowd.

9. The Willows

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1582 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 226-7768
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Sister bar to Mission Street’s popular, craft beer covered dive the Sycamore, the Willows has a bigger space, a fuller kitchen with more pub grub like burgers, and several pinball machines plus a big pool table. The place attracts a steady after work crowd for any combination of those attributes. What it lacks in pristine cleanliness, it makes up for in character.

10. Brewcade

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2200 Market St B
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 872-5310
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Combining 25 beers, 6 pinball machines, and a dozen or so cabinet games, Brewcade is a gaming paradise in the Castro with a clean, industrial aesthetic. It’s as inviting on an afternoon as it is by evening, and it’s been a hit since it opened in 2014.

11. Gestalt

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3159 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 813-2790
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16th Street beer-drinking den Gestalt Haus has an admirable pinball lineup buzzing and whirring away at all hours. Choose something from the lengthy tap list and get those fingers tapping away.

12. Bear Vs. Bull

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2550 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 549-5959
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Bear vs. Bull, the bar at the Mission’s Alamo Drafthouse — a beautifully updated old movie palace — nearly stands on its own with a solid cocktail program and list of beers. Swing by for a drink pre or post film, and get some entertainment upstairs while you’re at it: Above the bar, accessible by a back staircase, is a mezzanine of arcade games to play. It’s mostly pinball, with cinematically themed machine options like the Big Lebowski, the Simpsons, Star Wars, and more.

13. Urban Putt

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1096 S Van Ness Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 341-1080
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Beyond an intricate, 14-hole indoor mini-golf course (basically a playable art installation) and a wide selection of food, beer, and cocktails, Urban Putt has a small game room to keep patrons entertained. Long line for golf? Play some skee-ball while you wait.

14. Outer Orbit

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3215 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 574-6166
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This playful new Mission Street pinball bar with cheerful lighting and decor offers family-friendly fun — plus taps of tropical-leaning beers and low-proof cocktails for the adult crowd that rolls though in the evening. Hawaiian food like spam musubi, guava-smoked pork shoulder, and shaved ice desserts fuels pinball players as they toil away on nine machines, including one rotating historic machine from the Pacific Pinball Museum.

15. Emmy's Spaghetti Shack

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3230 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 206-2086
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One of the many charm’s of this family-friendly pasta restaurant, where the menus are handwritten in what appears to be crayon, is a small game area for the kids (and adults) that want a break from family time. The whole place is so delightfully mismatched you might even breeze by arcade games like Dolly Parton pinball and a photo booth.

16. Barebottle Brewing Company

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5714, 1525 Cortland Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 926-8617
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Down the hill from the main Bernal strip on Cortland is beer wonderland Barebottle, a family (and canine) friendly industrial brewhouse and indoor beer hall. Get a flight of innovative IPAs and head over to their arcade area for amusements — although the inevitable antics of the countless dogs the place attracts is likely to keep most customers occupied.

1. The Wreck Room

1390 California St, San Francisco, CA 94109

The divey, Polk-adjacent Wreck Room will transport drinkers to a tricked-out frat basemen. If that’s your thing, head in for games including skee-ball, shuffle board, darts, and even a boxing game with a real punching bag.

1390 California St
San Francisco, CA 94109

2. Golden Gate Tap Room

449 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94108

A Union Square adult playground and bar with skee-ball, foosball, and screens to watch any other kind of ball, Golden Gate Taproom’s claim to fame is more than 100 beers available at any given time. There’s plenty of pub grub, too, and games like Big Buck Hunter keep patrons coming back for more.

449 Powell St
San Francisco, CA 94108

3. Fifth Arrow

430 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94102

In addition to bowling, pizza, and cocktails, visitors to Fifth Arrow (the former Slide bar) will find arcade games like skee-ball and pinball to play. It’s a nice distraction as you wait for a show at upstairs August Hall — though you don’t need a ticket to swing by Fifth Arrow for food, drinks, and entertainment.

430 Mason St
San Francisco, CA 94102

4. Emperor Norton's BoozeLand

510 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Emperor Norton’s, named for a famed San Francisco eccentric, attracts contemporary kooks of all kinds. It’s a Tenderloin watering hole with a worn-in, non-judgmental atmosphere, plus some video games, shuffleboard, and so forth.

510 Larkin St
San Francisco, CA 94102

5. Coin-Op Game Room

508 4th St, San Francisco, CA 94107
Coin-Op Game Room

San Diego-founded arcade bar business Coin-Op moved into its massive, 10,000 square-foot SoMa space in 2016, bringing a boatload of cheap-to-play old school games with it. Fun snacks (tots, fried chicken, and doughnuts) plus cocktails round out the experience. For a bit more intimacy, head upstairs to the Tron-inspired speakeasy, the Grid, which patrons enter through a door disguised as a vintage Tron arcade game.

508 4th St
San Francisco, CA 94107

6. Trademark & Copyright

1123 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103

This split-personality bar (or duo of bars) has quality cocktails on one side and standard sports bar fare on the other, plus a mini arcade to keep everyone entertained. Ideal for game nights of all kinds.

1123 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94103

7. Emporium SF - Arcade Bar Venue

616 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Emporium, a Chicago-based mini-chain of arcade bars, filled a long-vacant, 12,000 square-foot theater on Divisadero with more than 50 arcade games, pinball machines, and tabletop diversions — plus the countless early-20s patrons who play them. It’s already a hugely popular destination for gaming, beer-drinking (there’s a great selection), and general carousing on weekends.

616 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117

8. BuzzWorks

365 11th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

This buzzing sports bar has several pool tables, foosball, and a row of arcade games to keep patrons fully stimulated. On top of drinks (beer and wine only) and food from their own kitchen (nachos, sausages, etc) they’ve got a deal with neighbors at DNA Pizza, which is ideal for feeding a crowd.

365 11th St
San Francisco, CA 94103

9. The Willows

1582 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Sister bar to Mission Street’s popular, craft beer covered dive the Sycamore, the Willows has a bigger space, a fuller kitchen with more pub grub like burgers, and several pinball machines plus a big pool table. The place attracts a steady after work crowd for any combination of those attributes. What it lacks in pristine cleanliness, it makes up for in character.

1582 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94103

10. Brewcade

2200 Market St B, San Francisco, CA 94114

Combining 25 beers, 6 pinball machines, and a dozen or so cabinet games, Brewcade is a gaming paradise in the Castro with a clean, industrial aesthetic. It’s as inviting on an afternoon as it is by evening, and it’s been a hit since it opened in 2014.

2200 Market St B
San Francisco, CA 94114

11. Gestalt

3159 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

16th Street beer-drinking den Gestalt Haus has an admirable pinball lineup buzzing and whirring away at all hours. Choose something from the lengthy tap list and get those fingers tapping away.

3159 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94103

12. Bear Vs. Bull

2550 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Bear vs. Bull, the bar at the Mission’s Alamo Drafthouse — a beautifully updated old movie palace — nearly stands on its own with a solid cocktail program and list of beers. Swing by for a drink pre or post film, and get some entertainment upstairs while you’re at it: Above the bar, accessible by a back staircase, is a mezzanine of arcade games to play. It’s mostly pinball, with cinematically themed machine options like the Big Lebowski, the Simpsons, Star Wars, and more.

2550 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

13. Urban Putt

1096 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

Beyond an intricate, 14-hole indoor mini-golf course (basically a playable art installation) and a wide selection of food, beer, and cocktails, Urban Putt has a small game room to keep patrons entertained. Long line for golf? Play some skee-ball while you wait.

1096 S Van Ness Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110

14. Outer Orbit

3215 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

This playful new Mission Street pinball bar with cheerful lighting and decor offers family-friendly fun — plus taps of tropical-leaning beers and low-proof cocktails for the adult crowd that rolls though in the evening. Hawaiian food like spam musubi, guava-smoked pork shoulder, and shaved ice desserts fuels pinball players as they toil away on nine machines, including one rotating historic machine from the Pacific Pinball Museum.

3215 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

15. Emmy's Spaghetti Shack

3230 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

One of the many charm’s of this family-friendly pasta restaurant, where the menus are handwritten in what appears to be crayon, is a small game area for the kids (and adults) that want a break from family time. The whole place is so delightfully mismatched you might even breeze by arcade games like Dolly Parton pinball and a photo booth.

3230 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

Related Maps

16. Barebottle Brewing Company

5714, 1525 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

Down the hill from the main Bernal strip on Cortland is beer wonderland Barebottle, a family (and canine) friendly industrial brewhouse and indoor beer hall. Get a flight of innovative IPAs and head over to their arcade area for amusements — although the inevitable antics of the countless dogs the place attracts is likely to keep most customers occupied.

5714, 1525 Cortland Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110

Related Maps