If you and your pals want to make a change from watching the match, why not get into the heart of the action with a pub sports night in some of the best spots around Dublin?
Of course, it’s easier said than done – particularly if you want to keep the activities mixed up, and the squad happy. But hey, we know what we’re talking about when it comes to this kind of thing.
So check out our solid advice and organise your very own Pub Olympics (although we feel obliged to tell you that you’ll have to provide your own matching tracksuits).
Book your space
Whether it’s ping-pong, air hockey or even just board games, the idea of pub sports is SO HOT RIGHT NOW.
Which is great, and all, but it does mean that the amenities are hotly contested. So get your own private space, beat the queues, and focus on what’s really important here: winning at all costs.
Know the score
It’s a good idea if you’re in a big enough group to have one person keeping score as the games progress, with another person standing by as a second opinion. That way you’ll avoid scraps over tiny details.
You can use a pen and paper, but it’s probably a lot handier to keep check on the notes app of your phone – or even a specialised score-keeping app, like Scoreboard.
Let’s go retro
In recent years, arcade games of old have made a welcome return, and we’re pretty excited about it. New Smithfield ‘barcade’ Token is the perfect place to have a video game tournament with some cold pints and delicious food – with vegans totally catered for. Play Tekken, Mario Kart and pinball to your heart’s content.
You can also book The Square Ball’s arcade room, kitted out with a Nintendo 64 and widescreen TV. Now get button-bashing!
Pool has been a bar classic for decades, and with good reason. You don’t have to exert yourself *too* much, and it’s a fun spectator sport for everyone watching. The Hideout on South William Street is a BYOB pool hall, perfect if you’re watching your pennies.
Against The Grain is a brilliant spot with its own bookable pool room, while its sister has The Black Sheep has you covered for the Northside – both come with board games as well, should this mildest of pub sports still be too much of an exertion.
Ride the ping-pong wave
There’s something of a ping-pong craze sweeping Dublin currently, and it is some craic with a good gang of pals or even for a work icebreaker night.
The Back Page has frequent ping-pong nights, while Wigwam on Abbey Street has its own special club – and there’s a brand new space at 4 Dame Lane with a super-funky table if you fancy something a bit different. There’s definitely someone in your crew that’s secretly a dark horse and will put you all to shame. Or maybe… maybe it’s YOU!
Eyes on the prizes
The default prize in pub game tournaments is usually a free round of drinks, which is great but not that imaginative. If it’s a special occasion, it might be worth buying some cheap medals online for a kitsch memento of the night.
Of course, victory in itself is a prize right? Right?
And finally, mix it all up
If you want something more low-key, a board game night in Blackbird Rathmines is a great shout. They have tonnes of choices, and their outdoor area is one of the cosiest in Dublin.
Or perhaps you might fancy a multi-game tournament at Busker’s On The Ball? They have shuffleboard, air hockey and ping pong among others, and you can even book an area making it super handy. Meanwhile, George’s Street favourite The Globe and Capel St’s The Black Sheep have Foosball tables… if you really want to show off your mad skillz.