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On a main artery of the Entertainment District, the Ballroom is the only place downtown to smash a few games of 10-pin. Be warned: lane prices reflect its central location. Bowling is one of those few precious pastimes where it’s possible to have a blast even when you’re losing.
Burying your burning face in a platter of tasty nachos and soothing your bruised ego with half a pitcher of beer are no-fail remedies for the shame of consecutive gutter balls.
If all else fails, there are always gutter bumpers. When you can’t get a lane, there are pool, ping pong and foosball tables, big screens devoted to sports and live rock ’n’ roll on Friday nights.
Hours Sunday to Wednesday 11 am to midnight, Thursday 11 am to 1 am, Friday and Saturday 11 am to 2 am.
Access Three steps at entrance three steps to washrooms.
Officially a lawn-games-themed bar and unofficially a windowless subterranean playground for industry with a taste for tall boys and Jameson, Track & Field taps into the competitive spirit of leisurely outdoor sports like bocce and shuffleboard in a fantasy campground setting complete with picnic benches and fake foliage.
Grab a cooler of tall boys (six for $35) or a pitcher of Porch Crawler (vodka, beer, pink lemonade, $50) and hit the courts. There are four cocktail varieties on tap, including Negronis ($9) and Manhattans ($10), on top of the longer list of made-to-order drinks. Hone your bocce and shuffleboard skills at no charge – one lane of each is first come, first served, always. Large parties hoping to bypass wait-lists can, for a fee, reserve courts from opening to midnight. There’s also crokinole for those who prefer seated combat.
Hours Daily 5 pm to 2 am.
Access Steps down from entrance, washrooms on same level as bar.
In an alley off King West, paddle masters will find this outpost of Susan Sarandon’s Ping Pong Social Club (pardon, table tennis, for those in the know). Inside this cavern of block, chop and smash, find 12 tables, two bars and very good odds of having a lot of fun. Even those who suffer from compromised hand-eye coordination can admit that there’s something hypnotic about watching balls fly back and forth – especially after a couple of drinks.
Hours Sunday to Wednesday noon to 1 am, Thursday to Saturday noon to 2 am.
Access Downstairs to the entrance, washrooms on main floor.
The titanic second location of this mega-popular T.O. board game café has been open in the former Andy Poolhall space since early September. Admittedly, it’s more café than bar. It opens at the crack of dawn during the week, but also serves booze, and board games are way more fun (and challenging) when you’re drinking alcohol instead of caffeine. There are 12 draught options for beer and cider and two kinds of wine on tap (more by the bottle or glass) and lots of shareable snacks to enjoy while playing your way through two floor-to-ceiling walls stacked with over 300 games.
Hours Monday to Friday 7:30 am to late, Saturday and Sunday 11 am to late.
Access Downstairs to entrance, washrooms on main floor.
Ever wanted to relive your high school glory days – you know, like brutally finishing Scorpion with your flawless handling of Sub Zero? Put yourself to the test and see if you’ve still got the moves at Dundas Video, where the bar is fully stocked with old game consoles from Super Nintendo to Sega Genesis and PS1. Affordable drinks (including $9 cocktails) and a chill vibe make it more than just a bar with old video games – it’s a proper haunt.
Hours Daily 7 pm to 2 am.
Access Steps at entrance, washroomson main floor.
If Nightowl had a single theme, it’d probably be “adult amusement.” It’s in the same vein as 3030, but with more intimacy. Games that are the most fun with a few drinks – Big Buck Hunter, a Tron pinball table – greet passersby in the front window, luring them in for a boozy ice cream float (the house specialty) and a snack or two. On weekends, there’s live music in the basement bar for extra entertainment.
Hours Daily 6 pm to 2 am.
Access Entrance barrier-free, washrooms in basement.
You can mingle easily at west Toronto’s original arcade bar, but don’t feel obliged. It’s a great place to shoot the shit with pals over beers or evade reality with a roomful of retro video games and pinball machines. Either way, there’s no standing awkwardly against the wall here. Pacman, Space Invaders and Tetris all beckon, but do take breaks between high score attempts to sample craft beers and slam a slice from in-house North of Brooklyn Pizzeria.
Hours Daily 5 pm to 2 am.
Access Barrier-free at entrance, washrooms in basement.
The Dock Ellis is a sports bar – but with local beer, super tasty bar food and an ambience that doesn’t make non-sports people want to cringe in a corner. The Dock has the traditional trappings of a sports-centric watering hole – plenty of TVs and memorabilia – with the added bonus of participatory games like foosball and shuffleboard. A convivial hang for hipsters and sports nuts alike.
Hours 3 pm to 2 am Monday to Friday-. Noon to 2 am Saturday and Sunday.
Access One step at the entrance, washrooms on main floor