Typically, “game time” in Boulder is synonymous with black and gold and the University of Colorado Buffs storming the court or field. But an alternative definition of “game time” is vying for your attention. Throughout the city, and in the nearby region, you can find plenty of places to play, whether that’s a classic game of pinball in an arcade or swinging the bat at a batting cage.
These seven places all score major points with us.
Press Play Bar, 1005 Pearl St. in Boulder
Arcades just feel extra special when they’re in a basement and ’80s music remixes with the clacks and dings of pinball machines. To find this arcade-bar hybrid, look for the 8-bit cherry icon on Pearl Street, then head downstairs to the nerdy playground that is the Press Play Bar. Try your luck on classic video games like Mortal Kombat, Frogger and Pac-Man, before moving on to the pinball machines, foosball table or air hockey table. This classic arcade also has two Skee-Ball lanes, a ping-pong table and oversized Jenga blocks. Go on a Monday night and during a “panic hour,” the bartender will ring a bell and drinks are a quarter a piece, cheaper than most games.
Gateway Park Fun Center, 4800 28th St. in Boulder
Play 18 holes of Putt-Putt alongside whimsical characters like bright pink elephants and purple gorillas at this fun zone in north Boulder. No sand traps here, but you will need to try to putt your ball through a hollow log and negotiate other obstacles. Unlike typical miniature golf courses, Gateway’s grounds — with pretty flowers and waterfalls — aren’t super kitschy. Serious golfers can also hit up the driving range. Continue on the fun circuit by hitting up the batting cages and the go-kart racetracks.
Dave & Busters, 10667 Westminster Blvd., Suite 100 in Westminster
Consider this venue the Chuck E. Cheese of your adulthood. About 20 minutes outside of Boulder in Westminster, Dave & Busters is a restaurant, bar and entertainment spot with dozens of games. Your fancy footwork on Dance, Dance Revolution or your perfect jumper at the hotshot basketball game could earn you prizes. Dave & Busters doubles as a sports bar, with plenty of televisions in the bar and restaurant area. Sharing the same parking lot is is Fat Catz, a big bowling alley, and an AMC movie theater with reclining seats and a mini bar.
Dark Horse, 2922 Baseline Road in Boulder
This Boulder landmark doesn’t necessarily feel “Boulder-y.” Still, we love an outcast that’s proud to serve a burger topped with peanut butter and provolone — at a service window, nonetheless — in this otherwise kale- and quinoa-obsessed city. It’s perhaps too spacious to be described as a dive bar, but the Dark Horse is filled with antiques and movie props. The bar hosts dedicated karaoke, bingo and trivia nights. But also bidding for your attention are video games, pool, air hockey, foosball and a simulated golf game.
Lyons Classic Pinball, 339 W. Main St. in Lyons
Pinball fanatics, there’s an arcade just for you. More than 35 pinball games that span from the 1960s to 2000s are ready to challenge you at Lyons Classic Pinball.
Once you’ve had your fair share of pinball, head next door to the Oskar Blues Restaurant for round two: more than 20 classic video arcade games from the 1980s at Lyons Classic Video. Most of the games are a quarter, and you can play Tetris, Ms. Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., Frogger and more.
Wild Game Experience, 2251 Ken Pratt Blvd. in Longmont
A relative newcomer to Longmont, the Wild Game Experience opened up in spring 2016 and offers all kinds of fun entertainment. You can bowl while simultaneously watching a sports game thanks to large projector screens. Or you can enjoy a live concert, play arcade games or compete in bocce ball. The venue has a wide selection of beers, including many that are locally brewed, plus a good mix of bar food (wings, nachos, burgers) and healthy-ish fare (brussels sprouts with bacon and ahi tuna salad).
Connection in the UMC on the Boulder campus, 1669 Euclid Ave. in Boulder
Google “bowl in Boulder” and your results will yield more information about acai bowls than actual bowling alleys. Actually, the only place to bowl in the city is on the University of Colorado campus. Tucked away in the University Memorial Center (a student center) is the UMC Connection, which has 10 bowling lanes, plus billiards. Bowling is pretty cheap here, too, costing students $3 per game and the general public $4.50. The Connection also serves beer and wine. And not only can you rent bowling shoes, but you can also purchase socks for $3. Good looking out, CU.