Pub Games — Why We Need to Bring Them Back


The world is obsessed with all things retro these days. Retro game consoles, retro clothing, there’s even a company that will build you a brand new retro Mini Cooper. So, with such enthusiasm for all things vintage, we’re going to throw out a genre that we feel fully deserves its place in the retro-renaissance: the traditional pub game.

Yes, that’s right. Dominoes, darts, and cards: the whole lot. In fact, we’re quite stunned that these old games have yet to have their day in the sun (or at least the pub games room). For the last 20 years or more, the only games played in most pubs were either quiz machines or pool tables. Now, we’re not knocking these two as games, it’s just that pool is a game of skill and precision while the pub quiz is a great workout for the mind.

But wouldn’t it be great to see people sitting around a table having a drink and a chat while playing a game of draughts? It would certainly beat the unsocial obsession we currently have with social media. And yes, we are totally aware of the paradox in that last statement.

So, which games should we bring back to the pub?

Well, darts is still an incredibly popular game with the world championship drawing huge crowds and a massive TV audience. However, it’s becoming increasingly rare to see a dartboard in a pub. Sure you’ll find a few here and there, especially in the areas where leagues are popular, but you’ll hardly ever see one in a pub just for the hell of it. Perhaps, it’s the fear of inadvertent injuries in an age where the insurance claim is king.

As an alternative to darts, rings, which interestingly enough is said to have originated in Ireland, is a fun game that even a person with the worst aim can enjoy without the worry about causing an injury. The board is simple, the rings are harmless, the rules are adaptable, and anyone can play. In fact, you can even set up the board in the beer garden for some summer fun.

Speaking of beer gardens, when was the last time you played a game of skittles? Everyone loves skittles or nine pins. Even if you don’t want to play it and really aren’t competitive, skittles is a game that you just can’t help but enjoy. In years gone by, pubs would have a specific area indoors where regulars could enjoy a game, but sadly, these spaces are now loaded with video machines that make money or added seating for the lounge.

So, let’s for a moment accept the fact that seating is a priority and that pubs just don’t have the space for rings or skittles. Well, fear not, there are plenty of table games that we can reintroduce to the pub scene. Let’s start with dominoes.

Oh, that’s an old man’s game, you say? Yes, it’s perceived as an old man’s game, but that’s only because new players have yet to have their eyes opened to this simple yet incredibly addictive game. Of course, as with any game, there’s a certain amount of skill and game intelligence involved with dominoes, but the fact is, it’s a game that anyone can play. And it’s lots of fun.

And what about backgammon and draughts? It’s entirely possible that some of you reading this have no idea what these games are, and that’s a crying shame. These are the games that the older generations of today played while enjoying a drink after work.

Traditional pub games were the video games of older generations’ time, and when you think about it, that makes them no different from the current generations. And since we’ve all had our obsession with games at some point in our life, why not bring some fun back into the pub? Ditch the video quiz games and hold off on the karaoke night, it’s high time that the traditional pub game made a comeback.

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