Valley bars and restaurants are stepping up the ante, giving more reason to hang out in their houses. Toss some bean bags into cornhole boards or pick up a paddle for some table tennis at Phoenix’s The Yard, join in a giant Jenga game at Scottsdale’s Brat Haus or settle at the bar for oldies but goodies: Connect Four, Guess Who and Operation board games at The Whining Pig.
These seven eateries and watering holes are fit for an afternoon of fun and games.
Come for the food at Culinary Dropout, Little Cleo’s Seafood Legend or Barrio Urbano, and stay for the yard games in the open courtyard setting. Relax around the firepits between games of cornhole, ping-pong and foosball, and grab your next drink from Culinary Dropout’s bar or the occasional on-site beer tent. This spot draws in crowds on the weekends, so arrive early and bring a few bucks to tip the free valet-parking attendant. 5632 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, 602.680.4040
Four locations of this eatery and hangout grace the Valley, each with a phenomenal patio and brunch on weekends. The lunch and dinner menu options are similar at each location and cover a wide range of cravings, from nachos and cheesy tater tots to ahi tuna salad, pad thai and spicy maple-glazed salmon. Try your hand at bocce, cornhole and shuffleboard, and enjoy the regular live and DJ-spun music in the evenings. The Vig Uptown, 6015 N. 16th St., Phoenix, 602.633.1187; The Vig Arcadia, 4041 N. 40th St., Phoenix, 602.553.7227; The Vig Fillmore, 606 N. 4th Ave., Phoenix, 602.254.2242; The Vig McCormick Ranch, 7345 N. Via Paseo Del Sur, Scottsdale, 480.758.5399
Kelly’s at SouthBridge
This American gastropub serves as a restaurant, sports bar, lounge and gaming room depending on the time of day and the vibe of those inside. The upscale bar food, like rock shrimp ceviche, bruschetta, beer mac ’n’ cheese, braised short rib and rib-eye, appeals to all tastebuds; rooms can be reserved to cheer for your favorite sports team; and pool tables and dartboards provide indoor competition while an outdoor putting green lets golfers practice their aim. 7117 E. Sixth Ave., Scottsdale, 480.393.3205
More than 30 flat-screen TVs line the walls for sports fans—just be cautious Sun Devils, it is University of Arizona Wildcat territory once inside. The roll-open doors extend out to the patio when the weather is nice, and American pub fare is served with an optional side of sweet potato tater tots. A Wii and Xbox gaming station rounds out the entertainment at this sports grill. 4801 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, 602.840.3950
A spicy bratwurst topped with pickled onions and paired with a seasonal microbrew are the perfect companions for diners seated at the picnic tables on the tree-canopied patio. Following the German grub, toss a few bags onto cornhole boards or strategically remove building blocks from the giant Jenga game. Street art lines the patio walls and festivals (of the German and food-loving varieties) are often celebrated here. 3622 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480.947.4006
The Whining Pig
Take a seat around the penny-topped bar or along the chalkboard wall. This quaint neighborhood bar packs in craft beer and wine drinkers and grilled-cheese lovers (seriously, it’s the only food served and it’s delicious). Hours fly by when indulging in childhood-favorite games like Operation, Guess Who, Connect Four, Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots, Barrel of Monkeys and more. Cards Against Humanity and Pictionary are popular picks, too. Need a beer recommendation? Don’t be shy to ask—the bartenders know their brews. 1612 E. Bethany Home Road, Phoenix, 602.633.2134
The Pig’s Meow Beer & Wine Bar
A sister to The Whining Pig, this beer and wine bar offers slightly more space to pile in—just enough, in fact, for classic-video-game playing. Those not seated in front of a Sega or Super Nintendo gaming station can solve a Rubik’s Cube, give Mr. Potato Head a face or catch fish with a magnetic-ended fishing pole. Both of these bars offer endless reasons to pretend you’re a kid again (but with the great adult privilege of drinking a craft beer). 3730 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, 602.795.9910