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The Rise of the Activity Pub

Why settle for just sitting around a table when you’re out with friends?  These days, it’s getting easier to find a pub that’s more than talking and drinking. Take SPiN, for example, which is opening their new Seattle location this month. When they opened their flagship location in New York, the idea of a bar completely centered around ping pong was pretty groundbreaking.

It makes sense too that this trend is getting so big. Americans spend more now on live experiences than they did in 1987, according to one study. And how about those millennials? As a generation, they prioritize experiences and building memories over stuff any day of the week. Read on for a few of our favorite activity pubs.




The newest addition to Seattle’s activity pub scene, SPiN is a ping pong-themed bar that originated in New York City back in 2009, after Susan Sarandon had a blast at a ping pong party. She thought it should be a thing. Located on 6th Avenue in the old Morton’s Steakhouse, the bar is entirely underground.

SPiN comes to Seattle with the same rock-it attitude it has in seven other cities. With 12 regulation Olympic ping pong tables and room for 300 guests, this is the new place to see and be seen in Seattle. Want a little privacy? A VIP lounge with its own bar and lounge seating is yours for the asking.

Rhein Haus


Rhein Haus has been a popular spot in Capitol Hill since they opened in 2013 in an old renovated candy factory. Here you can play all the bocce ball you want, with four full courts. The bar is German themed and is decked out to the max: antiques, lots of dark wood, and just a hint of oom-pah I the air.

Great authentic German fare and GIANT beers round out the experience. The only things missing are leiderhosen and buxom waitresses.

Flatstick Pub

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Sam and Andy Largent combined their love of miniature golf shuffleboard to create Duffleboard, a silly game that is the signature of Flatstick Pub. After success with their initial location in Kirkland, the brothers opened a large space in Pioneer Square’s underground. The Largents keep an impressive rotating tap list of more than 30 Washington beers and ciders. Go online to see what’s on tap today – the keg-o-meter lets you know if you need to get there quick before a selection runs out! Perfect fun for a rainy Seattle day or evening.

Be sure to look out for their new location in South Lake Union, opening soon.

Around the country:

Block Party (Los Angeles)

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The real winner at this bar is the back patio—filled with retro décor and cruise-ship style shuffleboard. The patio also has picnic tables that can seat large groups and a super cute retro hot dog stand.

The space is big, though, with a full bar on the inside too (where they serve boozy snow cones).

The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club (New York City)


The Royal Palms basically looks like the deck of a cruise ship—it sounds fancy but the big warehouse-y space has ten shuffleboard courts, and an impressive supply of board games. Giant jenga? Yes please. And yes, they do have palm trees to add to that cruise ship feel. The space has lots of room to hang out with friends and just watch the shuffleboard courts (in case you don’t feel like actually playing) so you’re not just cramped around a small table.

Big Joe’s (Chicago)


When was the last time you went to a turtle race? Never? Get to Big Joe’s early next time you’re in Chicago, to grab a front row seat to this spectacle. Sure, it’s not fast like horse racing, but it’s all serious business at this divey bar. Collect tickets for your chance to sponsor a turtle. Be warned, you may get called back in November for the Annual Tournament of Turtle Champions.