The ultimate gamer’s guide to Manchester
17 Below arcade

If you’re into games, Manchester offers plenty to play with.

From vintage arcade games and board games to ping pong and junkyard golf, there’s something for all tastes in our ultimate gaming guide to the city.

Arcade games:

17 below

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17 Below is an ’80s themed haven for cocktail connoisseurs, pool sharks and arcade players, hidden away underneath Dogs ‘n’ Dough. The place is full of all the games you used to play as a kid, including Space Invaders, Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. Cocktails include Hubba Bubble Bubbles – a nostalgic fizzy flavourbomb of vodka, Coke and bubblegum – and the music’s good, too.

Bow Lane, M2 4JN – twitter.com/17belowmcr

Lucky Lucky Late Bar

B.Eat Street has a permanent new home in the Great Northern, and in amongst the mouthwatering street food there you’ll find the Lucky Lucky Late Bar, offering awesome Japanese beers and cocktails. They also have four arcade games, so you can play arcade classics like Puzzle Bobble, Big Buck Hunter Pro or Point Blank 2 until the early hours.

Deansgate Mews, Great Northern Warehouse, 235 Deansgate, M3 4EN – twitter.com/luckyluckymcr

Take a look at B.Eat Street’s new home (and their mouthwatering food)

FAB Café

Opened in 1998 as the world’s first television and movie theme bar, FAB Café rocks a somewhat kitsch vibe, with TV and movie themed decor, memorabilia, retro arcade and console games, and an eclectic indie soundtrack. There’s a weekly quiz, themed nights and even guest appearances from stars of cult TV shows and films. Throw in some cheap drinks, plus Monster Munch crisp butties to eat, and it’s basically a gamer’s paradise.

109 Portland Street, M1 6DN – fabcafe.co.uk

Board games and card games:

Hold Fast

This Northern Quarter bar is inspired by Jules Verne and tales of the deep beneath Hatters Hostel. Check out the Cards Against Humanity Championship here every Wednesday, which is free to enter and offers a £50 bar tab for the winning team. If that’s not your thing, you can have a go on one of the vintage Sega consoles instead.

Hatters Hostel, 50 Newton Street, M1 2EA – hattershostels.com

The Smithfield Market Tavern

Central Manchester’s Camra pub of the year 2016, this modern day proper pub offers a stack of board games as well as a dart board, table skittles and even a shove ha’penny board. There are lots of great keg beers, an eclectic selection of bottles and an ever-changing variety of cask ales.

37 Swan Street, M4 4JZ – blackjack-beers.com

Cosy Club

#BankHoliday #Scrabble #CosyClubManchester

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Quirky, eccentric and playful, the Cosy Club offers casual dining, drinking and lounging in a relaxed spot in the Corn Exchange. You can play Scrabble, Jenga, Top Trumps, Trivial Pursuit, Connect 4 or Monopoly while you sip on a Pin-Up Martini or a maple and pecan Old Fashioned.

Corn Exchange, 37 Hanging Ditch, M4 3TR  – cosyclub.co.uk

Ziferblat Edge Street

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Everything is free inside Ziferblat except the time you spend there – you’ll be charged six pence per minute for the space which can be used as an office, a meeting space or just an extension of your own home. Make yourself a locally-sourced coffee, grab a slice of cake and settle into the giant sitting room with a game of cards, Scrabble, Cluedo or chess. There’s an Xbox too if that’s more your style.

23 Edge Street, M4 1HW – ziferblat.co.uk

57 Thomas Street

With eight draught lines, a rotating bottle selection and an eclectic range of cheeses and meats, 57 Thomas Street is a Northern Quarter gem of a pub from the Marble brewery. It’s also the perfect spot to have a game of Chess or Shut The Box over a beer or two.

57 Thomas Street, M4 1 NA – marblebeers.com

Access all areas: Manchester’s Marble brewery

Ping pong and pool:

Twenty Twenty Two

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If you fancy a game of ping pong in the heart of the Northern Quarter, head to Twenty Twenty Two. Open until 4am at weekends, each table costs £5 per 30 minutes, or they do free ping pong every Monday, all night. There’s a tournament the first Tuesday of the month, if you fancy your chances.

The Basement, Little Lever St, M1 1EZ – twentytwentytwo.co.uk

The Bunker

The Bunker – a new space within Black Dog Ballroom NQ – houses a stage for live music, DJ sets and comedy nights and its own bar, as well as a dance floor and ping pong table.

Basement Affleck’s Palace, corner Tib Street / Church Street, M4 1PW – blackdogballroom.co.uk

Lock 91

The infamous Jack Daniels Pool Room at Lock 91 is a vintage Victorian poolroom complete with a large ‘spots and stripes’ pool table and traditional dartboard. This playroom comes with its own private balcony, perfect for a group get-together.

Lock Keeper’s Cottage, 9 Century St, M3 4QL – lock-91.co.uk

Tariff & Dale

Former cotton warehouse, Tariff & Dale, boasts a spacious bar – including a cosy booth in an old lift shaft – and a more formal basement dining space. There’s also a pool table tucked away, so you can enjoy a game with a beer and a selection of excellent sausage rolls.

2 Tariff St, M1 2FN – tariffanddale.com

Shuffleboard and table football:

Albert’s Schloss

After a couple of Pilsner Urquell tank beers, you won’t be able to resist a game of shuffleboard at this Bavarian bier palace and tankovna located under the Albert Hall.

27 Peter St, M2 5QR – albertsschloss.co.uk

The Refuge

This creative lobby in the iconic Palace Hotel offers a public bar and dining room from the award-winning Volta team. Alongside the excellent food and 18 craft ale taps, you’ll also find a cosy den offering pool and table football.

Oxford Street, M60 7HA – refugemcr.co.uk

A sneak preview of The Refuge 

Golf:

Junkyard Golf Club

Junkyard Golf Club Manchester has a new home, and the course features two brand new nine-hole golf courses, along with three bars and the return of hot dog stall, Bart’s Dog Kart. Expect to play a round surrounded by trippy skulls, a tree house bar, 90’s rave UV room, slushy cocktails, a 14ft yacht and a ready-to-erupt volcano.

3 Piccadilly Place, M1 3BN – junkyardgolfclub.co.uk

The Green

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If you fancy playing indoor golf, head to The Green where you can virtually play St Andrews, Pebble Beach, Royal Melbourne or one of over 50 courses across the worldwide without having to leave Manchester. There’s also karaoke, gaming, pool, fuss ball, music, and great food and drink.

Bridge House, 26 Ducie Street, M1 2DQ – thegreenmanchester.com

Bowling:

All Star Lanes

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With six lanes in the main hall and exclusive presidential lanes which are great for groups, prices start from £6.95 at the all-American style All Star Lanes. Check out the burgers and cocktails, too.

The Great Northern, 235 Deansgate M3 4EN – allstarlanes.co.uk

Black Dog Bowl

If you fancy a late night bowling session, Black Dog Bowl offers five full length ten pin bowling lanes, plus a restaurant and bar, and they’re open until 2am.

Arch 57, Whitworth St West, M1 5WW – blackdogballroom.co.uk

Video games:

Retro Games Shop

You’ll find a wealth of retro games as well as gaming equipment, memorabilia and magazines at this store in Afflecks Palace.

3rd Floor, Afflecks, 52 Church Street, M4 1PW – afflecks.com

MancGamers

Hosted by gamer girl Sugar&Games, this new get-together for Manchester’s gamers at Dive Bar in the Northern Quarter, in conjunction with Game’s Manchester stores, looks to be a monthly event – check social media for updates.

Role playing games:

Travelling Man

Travelling Man is a haven for comics, graphic novels, board and role-playing games plus live events. This independent business sees board games and RPGs as activities which bring people together face to face rather than distant online events – check their website for future events.

4 Dale St, M1 1JW – travellingman.com

Escape room games:

Breakout

Fans of The Crystal Maze and Knightmare will enjoy indoor adventure Breakout, a live escape room game where you have to work as a team to solve a series of puzzles and mysteries in order to escape.

14a Brazennose Street, M2 6LW or 36 High Street, M4 1QB – breakoutmanchester.com

Escape Room


Locked in a room with a group of two to six people, participants in this interactive and intuitive real-life escape experience have 60 minutes to solve challenging puzzles to escape the room. Choose from Prison Break, The Mummy, Slaughter House and more.

1-7 Chapel St, M3 7NJ – theescaperoom.co.uk

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Main image: Instagram / @17belowmcr