So long, darts: The best new bar games are actually these old favorites, spotted at some of our favorite watering holes.
AUNT SALLY (seen at Golden Road Brewing in L.A.)
The concept—knock an “Aunt Sally” doll off a swivel with a wooden stick thrown from 30 feet away—is simple; the execution, not so much. “Aunt Sally is particularly alluring in its simplicity, but it’s incredibly frustrating for any who try to master it,” says Golden Road owner Tony Yanow, who discovered the game while traveling in England. Score game sets for about $100 at MastersGames.com.
PICHENOTTE (seen at Marble Brewery in Albuquerque)
Like shuffleboard? Try pichenotte, the super-simple (and seriously addictive) French-Canadian precursor to Crossfire. Depending on where you’re playing, boards vary from square to round, with or without pegs. The game’s objective is to finger-flick a wooden disc (think of it like a cue ball) into your opponent’s pieces, shooting them off the board. When you’ve sunk all of your rival’s pieces, tally the scores of your remaining pieces on the board. Score handcrafted boards at Pitchnut.com.
GIANT JENGA (seen at The Blind Pig and VBGB Beer Hall in Charlotte, N.C.)
A blown-up version of the game-night classic is perfect for the picnic table. A couple hours and $30 in wood gets you 18 rows of shaky- fingers fun: Measure and mark six 8-foot-long, 2-by-4-inch studs at 10½-inch intervals to yield 54 sections. Use a circular or miter saw to cut the wood at the markings (wear safety goggles!). Rub sandpaper along each piece’s surfaces and edges; use a damp rag to wipe off any dust.
PLUS: Bar Dice, Three Man, Ship Captain Crew—they’re all better with Snake Eyes Yard Dice ($50), solid-wood bones blown up to 3½-inch cubes you can toss around the lawn.