Looking to roll the dice on making new friends in the Triangle region of North Carolina? We’ve curated a list of game spots that not only offer exciting board games, video games and more, but also create a welcoming space for building connections. From electronic sports bars to video game arcades to cozy cafes with board game nights, discover the top places in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill where fun and friendship go hand in hand. Let the games begin!
Board and Tabletop Games
Boxyard RTP Board Game Nights
Head to Boxyard RTP’s pavilion every Wednesday from 5:30-8:30 p.m. for game night. Free-play board games are available, and local vendors offer drinks and bites. Every fourth Wednesday, participate in “Designer Game Night” to give feedback to board game designers.
Mahjong at Chatham Community Library
This tabletop game, similar to gin rummy, involves three or four players shuffling tiles to create matching sets. Originating in China in the 1800s and introduced to the U.S. in the 1920s, it’s now popular worldwide. Local mahjong experts Alice Wertheimer and Alice Patlovich assist beginners every Wednesday at 1 p.m. in the Holmes Family Meeting Room at Chatham Community Library. The program is free and open to the public, welcoming players 16 years and older of all skill levels.
Lanza’s Game Nights
Every Monday night from 5-8 p.m. at Lanza’s Cafe is dedicated to board game fun. Bring your favorite game or choose from Lanza’s collection. Enjoy live music by Carrboro musician Rob Gelblum while you play. On Wednesdays, professional chess coach Tobin Logan hosts chess skills sessions from 6-8 p.m.
Side Quest Game Lounge + Bar
This “geek-themed” Raleigh spot offers more than 300 board, card, role-playing, and family games. Side Quest creates a relaxed environment for casual play, tournaments or tutorials. The menu includes munchies, craft cocktails, beer, and assorted beverages.
The Gathering Place
Located just off Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, The Gathering Place is a “watering hole for the weary traveler” with a collection of tabletop role-playing games, board games, and a variety of beverages. Different gaming events happen nearly every night.
Moon Dog Meadery
With more than 200 brews and 300 board games, Moon Dog Meadery in Durham offers endless combinations for a fun night out. This basement spot under Durham’s Joe Van Gogh Coffee hosts weekly events, including karaoke, art nights, free dance lessons, open mics, and more.
Chess Club at Chatham Community Library
Players gather weekly on Saturdays at 1 p.m. in the Lakritz Storytime Room at Chatham Community Library in Pittsboro to try their hand at this ancient game. Teenagers and adults of all skill levels are welcome, and chess sets are provided.
Games, comics, books, toys, and draft beer await you at this Durham spot. Whether you’re looking to join a book club, jump into a Dungeons & Dragons Adventurers League or bring your friends for Monday game night, there’s a community for everyone to join at Atomic Empire. This game store also offers a unique subscription service for all your favorite comics.
Bad Machines is the state’s first electronic sports bar, located on the second floor of 108 E. Main St. in Durham. It serves North Carolina craft beer and game-inspired cocktails. Gamers aged 21 and older can watch or participate in competitive video gaming tournaments or play games on various consoles.
Boxcar Bar + Arcade
With locations in Durham and Raleigh, Boxcar offers a full bar and dozens of arcade games. Enjoy the 7,000-square-foot patio in Durham and live music on weekends in Raleigh.
The Neighborhood Sports Bar and Arcade
Downtown Cary bar The Neighborhood offers indoor bocce ball, pool tables, electronic and steel tip darts, Skee-Ball, pinball, air hockey, bubble hockey, basketball, and a food and drink menu.
This charming Carrboro bar and arcade’s “nerd-chic” atmosphere showcases more than 50 vintage and original arcade games. The Baxter welcomes children and young adults on weekdays from 3-6 p.m. and every Saturday and Sunday from 12-6 p.m.
Open Play Video Game Thursdays at Orange County Public Library
Teens can hang out with fellow gamers every Thursday at the Hillsborough Main Library’s teen room. From 3-5 p.m., teens can sign up for a 30-minute time slot with the library’s Nintendo Switch. The library provides controllers for up to four players and a selection of games.
Lego/Duplo Club at Chatham County Libraries
Kids can exercise their imaginations for an hour using Lego or Duplo blocks to construct buildings or cars at a CCL Lego Club. Meetings take place at 4 p.m. Tuesdays at Wren Memorial Library, Thursdays at Goldston Community Library and Fridays at Chatham Community Library.
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