Under Bloomfield Bridge, Bocce Brings Together Generations

Plus, find out where to play shuffleboard, classic board games and more.

Photo by Martha Rial


Sometimes, without realizing it, you find yourself doing something that makes you feel like a kid again. It’s not as strange as it may seem. The old and the young have something in common: They know how to play, relax and have a good time. Get back to that carefree attitude with these games that have endured the test of time — and are having a resurgence in the ’Burgh.


Bocce under the Bloomfield Bridge
It doesn’t matter if you wear your handlebar mustache ironically or if your ’70s-style baseball cap is actually from, you know, the ’70s. A game of bocce brings together generations. The bocce courts under the Bloomfield Bridge are sandwiched between a baseball field and the neighborhood pool. They are home to leagues and locals, and they represent a slice of Italian heritage that’s lasted for decades. Whether you’re 27 or 72, it’s hard to imagine a more whimsical afternoon or evening than one spent playing bocce in the park, snacking from a cooler full of sandwiches and pop, and listening to the sounds of Pittsburgh echo through the gully.

[Mott & Ella streets, Bloomfield]

Shuffleboard at Silky’s Bar
While most bars have only paper straw wrappers and soggy napkins to play with, Silky’s bar offers a well-balanced shuffleboard table, a great selection of beer and plenty of televisions to distract your opponent. After watching the pros play on multiple screens that broadcast the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates, you can play a few games, too — but with a lot less pressure.

[1731 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill, 412/421-9222; 5135 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield, 412/683-6141; 19 River Heights Drive, Sharpsburg, 412/782-3701]

Games Unlimited and Eurogames Meetup
After customers mill about Games Unlimited’s extensive collection, they bring their selections to the counter and ask if there are any local game groups. If it’s a Sunday or Wednesday, the cashier points across the street to Crazy Mocha, where the Eurogames Meetup has taken over a corner of the coffee shop. Members of the group (sponsored by Games Unlimited) borrow board games from the store’s lending library, carry them across the street, order a coffee, spread out and play until the place closes.

[Games Unlimited, 2115 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill; 412/421-8807, bgamers.com; Eurogames Meetup, meetup.com/Pittsburgh-Gamers-Meetup]

Arsenal Bowling Lanes
If there’s one game that never goes out of style, it’s bowling. It has always seemed timeless: those bright colors, the shoes that never could have been in fashion and those amazing league shirts. As a Pittsburgh fixture since 1938, Arsenal Bowling Lanes has preserved all the elements of classic bowling and — it’s hard to believe — improved on it. There’s now a saloon upstairs. And a karaoke night. Plus ’80s and ’90s nights. Bands play on the lanes. And, yes, you have an excuse to wear those killer shoes.

[212 44th St., Lawrenceville; 412/683-5992, arsenalbowl.com]


Categories: Arts & Entertainment