While we’d usually be pretty chill about the premise of seeing our friends on the weekend, this time, it’s a pretty big deal with the bank holiday weekend. After what feels like months of being skint, we’re in desperate need of a huge blowout and the perfect opportunity to make brand new memories. From competitive spins on classic games to nostalgic blasts-from-the-past, here’s our guide to some of the best game and activity bars in Manchester that are perfect for mate dates.
1. Flight Club
One of the most popular game bars in Manchester, Flight Club has a lot to offer its guests, with interactive darts games (that everyone can enjoy!), bottomless brunches, and a delicious menu of cocktails. Perfect for birthdays, works dos, or post-pandemic reunions – the venue has 14 private spaces to enjoy with your squad, a large bar area, and live DJs regularly playing, too. Flight Club, Ship Canal House, 98 King St, M2 4WU.
2. Point Blank
The UK’s first simulation shooting range, Point Blank Shooting combines technology with the classic shooting range – challenging participants to take on a number of targets. If that wasn’t all, the venue offers a great range of cocktails, beers and wines, as well as American-style grub such as chicken wings, pork belly bites, and three pizza choices. Point Blank Shooting, Basement, 78, Deansgate, M3 2FW.
3. Twenty Twenty Two
One of the Northern Quarter’s best hidden bars, Twenty Twenty Two lies underground down an unsuspecting alley, but when you take the staircase down to reach the bar, you’re greeted with a ping pong paradise. The bar features a number of fantastic spots to socialise – all kitted out with cosy leather Chesterfield sofas – while at the back of the venue, you’ll find rows of ping pong tables and a small bar where you can hire out a table and start up your own tournament with friends. Twenty Twenty Two, The Basement, Little Lever St, M1 1EZ.
4. Roxy Ball Room
Recently taking over the iconic Birdcage venue following success on Deansgate, Roxy Ball Room has a lot to offer in terms of fun, friendly games – with bowling, ‘crazy pool’, beer pong, shuffleboard and arcade games available to play. Specially created as a kind of playground for over-18s, the venue also offers a menu packed with American favourites such as burgers and wings, as well as nachos and stone-baked pizzas, with sixteen draught lines and a menu of cocktails to choose from to wash it all down with. Roxy Ball Room, Unit R3, Withy Grove, M4 3AQ | 76-78 Deansgate, M3 2FN.
A huge dose of nostalgia hidden away down an alley-like street in the Northern Quarter, NQ64 is the home of retro gaming here in Manchester – doubling up as a fun bar. Offering classic games such as Mortal Kombat, Pac Man, Street Fighter II, Tekken and newer classics such as Guitar Hero, guests can take their pick of games to play, as well as try out consoles such as the Sega Mega Drive, Super Nintendo, N64 and an original Playstation. NQ64, 9 Short St, M4 1AA.
6. Junkyard Golf
Junkyard Golf has made quite the name for itself since it arrived in Manchester a number of years ago, becoming the hot spot for first dates, mate dates and team nights out. The venue has put a really fun, city-spin on the classic game of crazy golf, providing weird and wonderful holes – such as a dark fairground, a crazy jungle and a scrapyard challenge – as well as fun cocktails topped with sweets and a bright and colourful bar to hang out in post-game. Junkyard Golf, 2 First St, M15 4RP.
7. Dog Bowl
Nothing beats a nostalgic game of bowling, and adding a little cool factor to the game is Dog Bowl. Run by the guys behind Black Dog Ballroom – a great spot for a game of pool and some American-grub late at night – Dog Bowl combines ten-pin bowling with an uber-cool cocktail bar, serving up a late-night menu of burgers and Tex-Mex dishes that make for the perfect scran after being defeated by your pals. Dog Bowl, Whitworth St W, M1 5WW.
Arriving in Manchester in 2021, Sixes Cricket Club is the first of its kind – combining the classic game of cricket with a seriously cool simulator that players must take on to win- you won’t find any bars like it! Bat to your heart’s content against your friends, before settling down with a choice of delicious BBQ-inspired dishes, craft beers, cocktails and so much more. Not only that, but the venue welcomes people of all ages and abilities, too, making it perfect for family outings. Sixes, Cathedral St, M4 3TR.
9. Pixel Bar
One of the newest game bars in Manchester, Pixel Bar is the perfect spot to hang out with mates for fantastic games to enjoy as well as Pokemon-themed cocktails and delicious pizzas, too. Soundtracked by some of the best pop-punk hits of our time, guests can hire out their very own console booths, and enjoy the likes of PS5, Xbox Series X and Nintendo Switch, alongside a number of free-to-play arcade cabinets dotted around the venue. Pixel Bar, 10 Thomas St, M4 1DH.
10. Urban Playground
Opening up within the Arndale shopping centre you’ll find Urban Playground, home to tech-infused crazy golf Putters as well as The Cube Live Experience. Recreate the gameshow IRL by stepping into the iconic Perspex box with up to seven challenges to choose from, some of which are single or two player games. Or putt your way round the crazy golf course by taking on nine holes amplified by on-screen animations and audio before finishing your game with some scran at haute couture burger joint The Butcher or a mouthwatering cocktail at the bar. Urban Playground, Manchester Arndale, Upper Mall, M4 3AQ.