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From wood and steel to the latest technology, these Milwaukee bar games make a night out worth the trouble.

1983 Arcade Bar

1110 N Old World Third

For those still stuck in an 8-bit mindset, downtown’s 1983 Arcade Bar offers just what the name suggests – a bar stocked with a full line of classic arcade consoles and pinball machines. Anchored by the timeless fun of such games as BurgerTime, Dig Dug, NBA Jam and Donkey Kong, 1983 also offers classic home console play on Nintendo and Super Nintendo. Much of their stock rotates on a monthly basis, so even if you conquer one of the games (or just get frustrated and refuse to feed it any more quarters), you’ll have plenty of reasons to keep going back.

1983 Bar Arcade; photo by Kelly Rippl

42 Lounge

326 E. Mason Street

If you want to drink and game, but don’t find 30-year-old technology all that charming, 42 Lounge offers PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U and Nintendo Switch game stations and an extensive library of games for one or multiple players. 42 also houses a collection of modern and classic board games that would rival even the Tenenbaums’ closet. This is a place to embrace your dork-dom and have some fun while enjoying a menu of “geek-inspired” cocktails.

photo courtesy of 42 Lounge

Victoria’s on Potter

1100 E. Potter Avenue

You can’t toss peanut shells on the floor at this out-of-the-way Bay View tap any longer, but you can get hammered while playing a few rounds of hammerschlagen, the German drinking game that challenges you to pound nails into a stump of wood. If you haven’t tried, it is a whole lot of fun and not nearly as dumb as it sounds. Victoria’s on Potter also features a giant Jenga set, if you prefer building up to pounding down.

Victoria’s on Potter; photo by Dominic Inouye

Champion’s Pub

2417 N. Bartlett Avenue

If you really are one who keeps their friends close, but their enemies closer, then shuffleboard at Champion’s Pub is the game for you. The triumph and tragedy of a well-placed puck being knocked off the table provides much of the nightly excitement at this low-key east side pub. And if the table is occupied, you can always head to the back patio area and try out the basketball hoop and four-square court.

Photo of Champion’s Pub by Thomas Nardini

Wolski’s Tavern

1836 N Pulaski Street

Aside from bumper stickers and their wonderfully salty popcorn, Wolski’s Tavern is also known for their bank of dartboards in the back of the bar. As you’d expect at this classic Milwaukee tavern, it’s a bare-bones kind of set-up: cork boards, metal tips and slate and chalk to keep score. Although this is a game of precision, it’s surprisingly easy to play – even a pitcher or two into the evening.

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I Closed Wolski's Bumper Sticker

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