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Nightlife & Music

North Bay Bars With The Best Arcade Games

September 5, 2013 5:00 AM

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Donkey Kong Game (credit: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

Donkey Kong Game (credit: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

Arcade games have long been an inexpensive form of entertainment in watering holes across the Bay Area. While newer bar-countertop games with the latest technology are appearing more than ever, many patrons still prefer the classic, old style 80s video games like PacMan, Space Invaders, Asteroids and pinball machines. Although Bay Area drinking establishments featuring vintage arcade games are dwindling in number, there is still a good mixture of dive bars, bowling alleys and local joints to enjoy a coin-operated, old school video game in the North Bay. The following are five of the best North Bay bars with arcade games.

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(credit: LogCabin San Anselmo Facebook)

American Legion Dugout Bar
20 Veterans Place – Memorial Park
San Anselmo, CA  94960
(415) 456-0834
www.americanlegionlogcabin.com

The American Legion log cabin and Dugout Bar not only has arcade games, it also has a pool table, shuffleboard, darts, board games, wide screen TV and a fully stocked bar. Built in 1934 by military veterans, boy scouts and volunteers, the log cabin has hosted several lively American Legion events over the years and its bar is located downstairs in the basement. Visitors do not have to be military veterans although many who frequent the bar have honorably served their country. The Dugout Bar is open Wednesday through Saturday from 6 p.m. to 2 p.m. and serves inexpensive drinks but accepts cash only. First-time visitors are encouraged to bring enough money to last an entire evening because there’s no ATM machine on site. Bartenders are volunteers and their only source of payment is through tips.

Related: Copycats: The Best Cover Bands in the North Bay

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(credit: Beyond The Glory Sports Bar & Grill Facebook)

Beyond the Glory Sports Bar and Grill
1371 N. McDowell Blvd. Suite 130
Petaluma, CA  94954
(707) 775-3775
www.btgsportsbarandgrill.com

This popular sports bar in Petaluma has a separate room full of arcade games, including the timeless classic PacMan and a Dale Earnhardt Jr. pinball machine. Voted Petaluma’s “Best Kid Friendly Restaurant” the past two years, Beyond the Glory has a full bar, with an extensive beer and wine collection. The highly acclaimed grill is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, with breakfast served on weekends only. Also in the bar and grill are 20 large TVs, ranging from 42-inch LCDs to 100-inch projection screens, enough to entertain a huge crowd for viewing collegiate and professional sporting events.

Napa Bowl Bar and Lounge
494 Soscol Ave.
Napa, CA  94559
(707) 224-8331
www.napabowlingcenter.com

Like Petaluma’s Beyond the Glory, the Napa Bowl has a separate video game room from the bar. In addition to 32 bowling lanes, there are plenty of old-style arcade games and pinball machines like Pirates of the Caribbean and Terminator 2, a restaurant, separate darts and pool table rooms and a full bar and lounge, with multiple TVs to watch sporting events. The bar hosts a daily happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in addition to a late night happy hour on Sundays and Mondays from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. During the summer, the bowling alley features Friday Wine Nights with “all you can bowl” games, free shoe rental and up to five different Napa Valley wine tastings for just $20.

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(credit: smittysbar.com)

Smitty’s Bar
214 Caledonia St.
Sausalito, CA 94965
(415) 332-2637
www.smittysbar.com

Known as the “Friendly Neighborhood Bar,” Smitty’s Bar is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. There are only a few arcade games at this immensely popular dive bar along Sausalito’s former main street, such as a Star Wars Trilogy pinball machine, but there are plenty of other forms of light entertainment, with four pool tables, a dartboard, foosball table, shuffleboard and a TouchTunes Jukebox. Smitty’s also sponsors league play for both shuffleboard and pool, with plenty of friendly competitions and crowd support amongst contestants. Drinks are inexpensive at Smitty’s Bar and patrons can enjoy sporting events on any of the five HDTVs or even test out singing skills in front of a captive audience during karaoke contests on Monday nights.

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(credit: trevorspub.com)

Trevor’s Pub
927 Tamalpais Ave.
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 456-7044
www.trevorspub.com

Trevor’s Pub has been described as “San Rafael’s living room” because of its brick fireplace and friendly “Cheers”-style atmosphere. Located in an historic building once home to the San Rafael-Richmond Ferry Ticket Office in 1927, the full bar has an outstanding selection of fine beers, wines and well drinks. This no-frills neighborhood bar has a few arcade games, including an Adams Family pinball machine, the ever popular classic Ms. Pacman and a mini-basketball game. Two pool tables, a popcorn machine and an internet jukebox keep patrons entertained while relaxing with inexpensive drinks and good conversation.

Related: Best Haunted Bars in the North Bay

Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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