The Greatest Games Bars Worth a Trip to London For

· Andrew Porter-Emery · London

Let the games begin at these amazing London bars.

Bounce Games Bar

Ready to return to the capital? You could be there in just 2 hours and 16 minutes if you travel by train. With reserved seats, free Wi-Fi and onboard charging points, you can sit back and enjoy the ride. Book now and reserve your seat for just £30 each way.

From swanky bowling lanes to crazy cricket bars and high-tech shuffleboard, London’s best games bars take fun to the next level.

The gaming bars of London are truly brilliant – and with The Big Smoke only 2 hours and 16 minutes away by train, there’s no reason you can’t try them all. Travel in comfort – use Let’s Eat At Your Seat to order food to where you’re sat – and soon you’ll be playing ping-pong, taking on your mates at table football and even swinging your bat at virtual reality cricket. Whether you’re playing for honour or the loser gets the drinks in, these are the essential games bars in the capital.

Upside down crazy golf at Puttshack

Puttshack London

Puttshack is crazy golf turned all the way up to 11. There’s no scratching the score out with a tiny pencil here – they’ve taken the latest technology and applied it to golf, so your ball is tracked and the score is kept for you. Here, the highest score wins, not the lowest. You’re playing for points and can rack them up with a hole-in-one, first shot bonuses, aiming for super tubes and more. The holes are brilliantly themed – there’s even a prize wheel hole where you can win drinks and pizzas. Speaking of which, sustenance includes craft beers, cocktails and bao buns. All this just 26 minutes from King’s Cross on the Circle Line.

Puttshack Bank, 1 Poultry, London, EC2R 8EJ. Book your train tickets now from just £30…

Shuffleboard, speakeasy and sourdough pizza at London Shuffle Club

Shuffle Club London

Shuffleboard just got serious. In the heart of Shoreditch, 30 minutes from King’s Cross, London Shuffle Club has taken the game to the next level with three different ways to play. Descend to the basement speakeasy, Crazy Eight, and play indoor shuffleboard in both ‘classic’ and ‘snapback’ modes. But ‘Lane Shuffle’ is where the action really is – it’s like cruise ship shuffleboard marooned in London as you use sticks to push the discs – you can even play on their covered terrace for London views as you rack up your best score. Keep your energy up with sourdough pizzas, Beavertown on draft and jugs of cocktails.

London Shuffle Club, 4 Ebor Street, London, E1 6AW. Book your train tickets now from just £30…

Axes and augmented reality at the massive Boom Battle Bar

Boom Battle Bar London

Boom Battle Bar at The O2 in London – the former Millennium Dome, just 35 minutes from King’s Cross – offers 17,000 square feet of space, a giant cave of competition where battle must commence. What will you try first? Bavarian axe-throwing? ‘Crazier Golf’ where the loops and catapults take your ball on unexpected journeys? Augmented reality darts with 10 different game modes? Maybe you want to kick things off with a round of digital beer pong? Don’t worry, the drinks aren’t digital. Speaking of which, they’ve got their own brew on draft, and it’s the perfect accompaniment for their Atomic Mind Melter wings.

Boom Battle Bar, The 02, 23 Entertainment Avenue, London, SE10 0DY. Book your train tickets now from just £30…

Bowling in style at Bloomsbury Lanes

Bloomsbury Lanes London

Perhaps the coolest place to go bowling in the whole country, Bloomsbury Lanes has an effortless swagger that hits you the second you arrive. After 13 minutes on the Piccadilly Line, you’ll be greeted by vintage red booths that conjure up images of New York – and that’s before you get to the stunning range of bowling lanes. Bowling isn’t the only game in town, but it’s certainly the main event. Play ping pong and pool, head to a karaoke room or go to the diner for burgers and dogs in retro surroundings. If you’re really hungry, order up a 26 inch pizza from Ray’s – you’ll go up on their wall of fame if you can solo it.

Bloomsbury Lanes, Tavistock Hotel, Bedford Way, London, WC1H 9EU. Book your train tickets now from just £30…

French-themed fun at Baranis

Petanque at Baranis bar in London

This bar, bubbling over with Gallic flair, is the only bar in the country with a pétanque court. It feels like a place transported from Provence, serving up none-more-French drinks such as Pastis and Absinthe, which are certainly not for the wary. Not familiar with the game? It’s a French take on bowls, where you toss your ‘boules’ and try to get it as close as possible to the ‘cochonnet’. Fuel your game with a comprehensive menu of French wine, Corsican charcuterie and signature herb-infused cocktails, a mere 20 minutes from King’s Cross via the Piccadilly line.

Baranis, 115 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1PP. Book your train tickets now from just £30…

Shoot and score at Bar Kick

Bar Kick in London

Jump on the Northern Line at King’s Cross and you’ll be at Shoreditch’s Kick in 20 minutes. There’s a big screen showing the latest game everywhere you turn, from football to NFL, and if 12 4K screens isn’t enough, it’s also a hub for table football. These aren’t an afterthought, they’re championship grade tables, yours by the hour or half-hour. Whether you’re playing ‘winner stays on’ or round robins, the competition is fierce, just remember you’re not allowed to spin. In London on a Monday? Table football is free from 4pm. All this, plus cocktails, draught beer, loaded fries and juicy burgers. It’s a sports-lover’s paradise.

Bar Kick, 127 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6JE. Book your train tickets now from just £30…

Street food and stylish golf courses at Swingers

Swingers London

Credit: Luke Dyson

The good people at Swingers haven’t just cobbled together a few random holes, they’ve concocted two very tricky and very beautiful nine-hole courses, The Helter Skelter and The Big Wheel. Holes range from the relatively easy through to the head-scratchingly difficult – you’ll need to master gravity, angles and touch to bag yourself a prized hole-in-one. Get in the golfing spirit with a Hot or Not cocktail, pepped up with house-infused chilli tequila. They’ve partnered with Pizza Pilgrims for slices, Breddos for tacos and Patty&Bun for burgers. All this just 12 minutes on the Victoria Line from King’s Cross.

Swingers, 15 John Prince’s Street, London, W1G 0BG. Book your train tickets now from just £30…

Remote controlled racing at Four Thieves

The Four Thieves is a pub you’ll want to bring back home with you. It boasts the first in-pub VR station in the country, a games arcade packed with retro classics, a karaoke room and a packed calendar of out-there quizzes hosted by performance artist Boogaloo Stu. But that’s not even the best bit – that’d be the Moonshine Raceway, their remote-control car racing track. Grab your steering wheel and take on nine other drivers in an adrenaline-fuelled motorsport experience like no other. Throw in craft beers and a ginormous range of gin, and you’ve got the perfect games bar, 45 minutes from King’s Cross.

The Four Thieves, 51 Lavender Gardens, London, SW11 1DJ. Book your train tickets now from just £30…

Serve, spin and swig at Bounce Old Street

Bounce Games Bar in London

Whether you call it table tennis, ping pong or wiff waff, Bounce is the home of it in London. Rock up, grab a drink and ping pong to your heart’s content. That’s not all. They’ve also got beer and prosecco pong, curved shuffleboard tables and incredible ‘Wonderball’ tables (that’s high-tech ping-pong with ball tracking, lights and graphics). They even employ ‘Games Gurus’, so if you’re going with a group, you get a guaranteed party-starter to put you through your paces. Throw in classic and contemporary cocktails, beer, wine, pizza and nachos for the perfect night out. It’s near King’s Cross too, just 13 minutes on the Northern Line.

Bounce, 241 Old Street, London, EC1V 9EY. Book your train tickets now from just £30…

Shooting and sliders at Clays Bar

Clays Bar London

Clay pigeon shooting whatever the weather? With booze and posh snacks? Just head 15 minutes on the Circle Line from King’s Cross to Clays Bar in London, the first interactive clay target shooting venue in the UK and one where you’ll get your own private booth and take aim at targets on vast screens. They even take photos and videos of you, so you can relive those bullseyes – and the ones where you missed by a mile! Take aim as you snack on small plates – beef croquettes, sliders, truffle popcorn – or their signature ‘loaded bread’. Think zaatar-spiced focaccia topped with 24-hour braised lamb.

Clays Bar, 55 Moorgate, London, EC2R 6LL. Book your train tickets now from just £30…

Howzat for a good time at Sixes

Sixes Bar London

Cricket has never really translated to a bar game – until now. At Sixes Social Cricket, you can test your skills in proper cricket nets and VR booths, with the necessary drinks to make it oodles of fun. The batting nets pit you against pace bowling and spinners – you can set your own skill level, from beginner to pro, with scoring pads that let you rise up the leaderboard. Alternatively, don a VR headset and take on the greats at virtual stadiums, complete with crowd noise, commentary and zero chance of taking a ball in the nethers. Food is brilliant and barbecue-led. Plus, it’s just 13 minutes from Kings Cross on the Circle Line.

Sixes Fitzrovia, 170 Great Portland Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1W 5QB. Book your train tickets now from just £30…

2 hour 16 minute time is the most common journey time between Leeds and London King's Cross, Monday to Friday.