Want to do something other than just drink while you’re out on a rainy day? These bars have you covered with indoor entertainment.
(Listed in no particular order.)
Details: The two-story self-serve bar with duckpin bowling is from the team behind Hoppin’. The exact address is 2306 Central Avenue in Plaza Midwood.
Duckpin bowling: The 6,000-square-foot space features four duckpin bowling lanes in the basement. If you’re not familiar, duckpins are shorter, smaller, lighter bowling pins that you try to knock down with a ball that’s a little bigger than a softball.
Self-serve taps: Pinhouse uses the same iPourIt dispense technology as sister bar Hoppin’. Just grab a wristband at the door, link it to your credit or debit card, and swipe to serve yourself at the taps. It has 72 taps across two floors with beer, wine, Prosecco, and kombucha.
Food: Owners Rich Moyer and Drew Nesemeier partnered with chef Rob Masone of Kre8 Twisted Eats on a full-time food truck that’s parked on site daily (Tuesday-Sunday). Masone, known for inventive gourmet eats like his Bosshog mac & cheese egg rolls, also has a permanent food truck on the patio at Hoppin’ and a full kitchen at Wooden Robot.
Details: Abari is Charlotte’s original arcade/bar hybrid for adults. The exact address is 1721 North Davidson Street in Villa Heights.
Games: It has 50-plus retro and new arcade games and pinball machines along with classic game consoles like Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and Sega Genesis.
Kid-friendly hours: Abari is open to all ages (with a parent or guardian) from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. All other hours it’s for adults only.
Details: The Mexican-inspired restaurant, bar, and gaming venue is located on the ground floor of Optimist Hall. The exact address is 1115 North Brevard Street in Optimist Park just north of Uptown.
Entertainment: Games include duckpin bowling lanes, basketball shooter, shuffleboard, and air hockey. Look for more games to be added over time.
Drinks: In addition to a cocktail menu with mezcal- and tequila-based drinks, El Thrifty has a traveling bar cart with customizable cocktails and tequila flights. Signature cocktails range from $9 to $14.
Locations: Sound familiar? The original El Thrifty is in Greenville, South Carolina and is from the ownership team behind Queen Park Social.
Details: The 18,000-square-foot restaurant, bar, and social house is in LoSo at 4125 Yancey Road.
Layout: The space essentially splits in the middle with a bar and restaurant section to the left, games to the right, and a dominant 30-seat U-shaped bar in the center. It also has two private rooms for parties, outdoor patios on either side of the building, and big garage doors that roll up when the weather is nice.
Games: Queen Park’s collection of interactive games include shuffle board, ping pong, Skee-Ball, Pop-A-Shot, classic board games, and eight lanes of string pin bowling.
Game pricing: Bowling is $35 an hour plus $4.50 per person for shoes. On Sunday, bowling is only $25 an hour plus $4.50 per person for shoes.
Most games are free with the exception of Skee-Ball ($1 per play), air hockey ($1 per play), shuffleboard table ($5 per hour), shuffleboard full court ($15 per hour), and pop-a-shot ($1 per play).
Nearby bars: Bar hop around the neighborhood surrounding Queen Park and visit Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, Sugar Creek Brewing, Brewers at 4001 Yancey, Good Road Ciderworks, and more.
Details: The 23,000-square-foot gaming hall is in south Charlotte at 2135 Ayrsley Town Boulevard, Suite C.
Games: Bowling, pool tables, shuffleboard, ping pong, cornhole, foosball, darts, and board games like Battleship, chess, and Scrabble.
Game pricing: From open to 4 p.m., bowling is $5 a game for adults and $3 a game for kids. From 4 p.m. to close, bowling is $40 an hour (max six bowlers per lane). Lanes are first come, first served.
Pool tables are $10 an hour, shuffleboard is $2 a game (cash only), and ping pong is a $2 an hour for paddle rental. All other games are free.
Special: The weekday “Lunch & Bowl” special gets you two games and shoe rental for $15 from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Details: The café and bar in NoDa has a cat lounge for mingling with adoptable cats. Mac Tabby also offers cat yoga from 7:30-9 p.m. every Monday. The exact address is 3204 North Davidson Street.
Cat lounge: Reservations aren’t required for hanging out with the cats but are strongly encouraged. You can book hour sessions for $12 in advance to guarantee access or try for a 30-minute walk-in for $8, subject to availability.
Cats: There are 12 cats living in the lounge at a time and all are available for adoption. Cats come from local rescue Catering to Cats and Dogs, which also facilitates all adoption inquiries in the event you meet a cat you can’t go home without.
Café: In accordance with health code regulations, the full-service café is completely separate from the cat lounge and features coffee, tea, beer, wine, Prosecco, and sweets that you can buy and take with you to see the cats.
Details: The South End hot-spot has tons of food and drink specials throughout the week, games, and 100-plus TVs for game watching. The address is 200 East Bland Street.
Games: In addition to pool, Slate has giant Jenga, giant Connect Four, corn-hole, and pong.
More billiards: If you’re looking for more spots to play pool, check out Montford Billiards.
Details: 8.2.0, from the team behind VBGB right next door, has multiple bars and a karaoke lounge packed inside. The exact address is 820 Hamilton Street.
Karaoke: You can rent a private VIP karaoke booth for up to eight people, or hit the main stage to perform for the entire crowd. There’s also a secret library with a jukebox if you’d rather have a dance party with your friends away from the main crowd — so long as you can find the door.
Pizza: Buy it by the slice for $4+ or a whole pie for $20+. 8.2.0 also sells Belgian fries with more than 20 dip options. See the full menu here.
VBGB: Next door to 8.2.0, VBGB is a German-inspired pub and outdoor beer hall. They’ve got 30 beers on tap, sand volleyball, and giant Jenga for those randomly warm winter days.
Details: Jeff’s is known for its karaoke. The beloved Montford bar always has $5 fireball shots and $2.75 beers most nights of the week. The address is 1601 Montford Drive.
Karaoke app: Jeff’s uses an app called Karafun which has more than 26,000 songs to choose from. So gather some (liquid) courage and sing your heart out to a crowded basement of buzzed bros.
Details: A Korean barbecue restaurant and karaoke lounge located at 1400 South Church Street in South End.
Karaoke: Seoul has four rentable rooms, and reservations are strongly recommended. The rooms are expensive — $30 to $100 per hour — but they can hold up to 30 people.
(11) Pins Mechanical
Details: The massive 22,000-square-foot facility opened recently with two indoor bars with 36 taps each, a rooftop bar with 24 taps and skyline views, and four fire pits. It’s located at 307 West Tremont Avenue in South End near Common Market.
Game inventory: 12 duckpin bowling lanes, 20 pinball machines, 30+ arcade cabinets, two pong consoles, two Jenga sets, two patio pings, two giant connect 4s, two foosball tables, bocce ball, ping pong table, and a giant lite-bright. Whew. Pins also has a private event space or you can buy out the entire space if you’re throwing a huge event.
Background: Pins Mechanical Company is a popular social house and 16-Bit Bar+Arcade has pretty much every classic arcade game from the 80s & 90s. Both are small national chains with locations in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dublin, Nashville, and Indianapolis. Rise Brands, the parent company, develops the concepts.
Details: An indoor miniature golf course and cocktail lounge located at 1318 Pecan Avenue, Suite 101, in Plaza Midwood.
Golf: Stroke’s 9-hole putt putt course can be played on two different settings — a technical way and an easy way (good for kids or horrible golfers). That way, you can customize your mini-golf experience.
Booze and food: In the room over from the golf course, Stroke has a mid-century modern lounge with a central U-shaped bar. Fresh Eats catering created Stroke’s food menu to replicate a Masters Tournament dining experience, meaning foods that are easy to walk around with. (Think hot dogs, sandwiches, and other finger foods.)
(13) Frankie’s Fun Park
Details: Inside this massive 20-acre amusement park in Huntersville is a 84,000-square-foot indoor “fun park” and a restaurant and bar.
Activities: 24 bowling lanes, laser tag, three-story playground, LED-illuminated bumper cars, and a huge arcade (you can redeem arcade points for physical prizes).
Looking for more things to do? Check out our event board with 50+ cool events and best indoor activities when it’s cold and rainy in Charlotte. Or if you insist on drinking al fresco, check out Charlotte bars with heated outdoor space so we can drink outside all winter.