Los Angeles
5364 Wilshire Blvd.

Busby’s has been considered a hot sports bar in L.A. for quite a while now, but for the non-sports fanatics (like me), this bar offers much more than game viewing – they offer game playing.

When you walk up the stairs and pass the bar, on the left are fun arcade/bar style games that you’ll want to get your hands on! They have pool, billiards, ping-pong, shuffle board, darts and foosball. Their arcade games include basketball, Buck Hunter, Stacker and Pin Ball. Plus, they offer Wii and board games. Trust me, there’s nothing more fun than taking a few tequila shots and then challenging your friends (or one of the hot guys by the pool table) to a lightning round game of basketball.

The crowd at Busby’s is a good mix of people ranging from young 20-something-year-olds to those in their mid-to-late-30s; expect to find people of different ethnicities. Patrons spread themselves out evenly throughout the space; most of the men take over the game section, groups of people sit at the back tables, small groups of girls like to sit near the front of the bar where flat screen TVs play psychedelic videos of old and new music videos, and the rest grab stools at the bar.

The bartenders are friendly and talkative, and they make a strong Long Island Iced Tea. After having a few rounds, I suggest you head over to the nightclub part of the bar and dance off those guilty calories. The music includes an eclectic range of popular Top 40’s music, rap, EDM and more; there’s something for everybody.

When I first visited Busby’s, there was some serious Latin ballroom dancing going on. Couples and partners danced the Salsa and a little bit of Cha-Cha – their energy was contagious. Every bone in your body will compel you to get up and dance with them!

369 N. Western Ave.

Judging by its name, most would assume that this joint is a mash-up of a bar and an arcade – and they’re right. Blipsy Barcade has 22 retro arcade games, four bartenders and hundreds of toys (seriously, hundreds). When you walk in, you’ll see the bar on the right loaded with liquor bottles, glasses and toys.

There are a few stuffed animals, dolls and a model of Blipsy Barcade made out of Legos.
And of course, there are the classic, vintage (and modern) arcade games: Stellar Wars, Gauntlet, Twilight Zone, Spy Hunter, Galaga, Donkey Kong, Punch Out, Paper Boy, Defender, WWF Superstar and so much more! For those who are nostalgic of the days you spent hours playing Pac Man and Nintendo, this is your bar. Make sure you bring friends who match your enthusiasm for arcade games or else they might not have the patience for it.

But if they don’t, Blipsy offers more delights. Besides gaming, the bar also a DJ booth where DJ Randy J spins reggae, funk, hip-hop, boogie, disco and new wave tunes. Every third Friday, you can catch BodyHeat (a group that plays a mixture of Italo disco, new wave, synthpop and more) for free.

The only downside to this place: it’s a cash-only bar. Upside? They have an ATM machine towards the back so you don’t to go on a wild goose chase looking for the nearest BOA. Plus, there is no cover to get in! Also, make sure you drop by on Sundays between noon and 8 p.m. – they serve $3 handmade margaritas (wink, wink).

SPiN LA at The Standard
Downtown L.A.
550 S. Flower Street

Almost every young, hip college student knows about downtown L.A.’s popular rooftop bar, The Standard. However, how many know about its ping-pong club: SPiN LA?

SPiN is a ping-pong social club where you and your friends can reserve a ping-pong table (or just walk in) and get a game going while sipping on cocktails, eating some street food and meeting new people. Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon, Andrew Gordon, Jonathan Bricklin, Franck Raharinosy created and own SPiN, and there are other clubs in New York, Milwaukee and Toronto.

This space is ultra sexy with its sleek, red ping-pong tables and slightly dim lighting. There are  bleachers next to one of the ping-pong tables for spectators, giving the space a small competitive, game-like atmosphere. There are even large and small photos in black and white of people playing ping-pong. One of them is a wall-size photo of our very own President Obama wearing a dress shirt and tie, his eyes focused on hitting the ping-pong back to his opponent who we can imagine is on the other side of the table.

The great thing about SPiN is that the club occasionally hosts open tournaments, “Glow in the Dark Tuesdays” and even an “Under 30 Ping Pong Party,” which includes $4 PBRS, $5 drop shots and more!

And, of course, its location at The Standard makes it easy for you to just go up to the roof and enjoy the other bar and breathtaking views of downtown L.A.