It’s that time of year again: the holidays are long gone, spring is no longer in sight and the weather is freezing, gray and sometimes snowy. If the winter blues have you looking for something more stimulating than just dinner, we’ve found places that combine great food with table games, pinball machines, bowling, shuffleboard and sports. high-tech virtual. All you need to bring is an appetite – and your gameface.
Arcadia (2890 Hempstead Tpke. #7, Levittown): Levittown native Cory Poccia has teamed up with celebrity chef Brian Duffy (whose appearances on Paramount’s “Bar Rescue” will be familiar to TV junkies) to open this restaurant retro style arcade machine. Tucked away in a nondescript shopping street on the Hempstead Turnpike, it’s a little place where the entertainment skews the classic: Pac-Man and Donkey Kong are among the arcade games. Duffy’s menu features fun stuff like Pop Rocks shakes, sloppy Joes and a grilled “D’oh Nut” stuffed with bacon and cheeses and sprinkled with powdered sugar. There are also wings and nachos, fancy grilled cheeses on Texas toast and brick-pressed burgers. More info: 516-899-5309, arcadialevittown.com
Regular registration (9 E. Main St., Patchogue): For people looking for a dose of nostalgia—and dishes designed for a modern palate—Patchogue’s Standard Rec delivers. On the spot once occupied by Public House 49, owners Brad Wilson and Frank Bragaglia have created a space any 90s kid will call home. Beastie Boys posters adorn the walls; in the bathrooms, audio cassettes are used as decorative tiles. Players can sit down for games of Scrabble, Uno, or Connect Four, while an arcade offers vintage video games and Skee-Ball. To eat, find chorizo empanadas, Korean chicken tacos, birria ramen, tuna pokes or mashed burgers mixed with pork belly. The drinks have fun names like “Captain Fantastic” (vodka, citrus, lavender) and “Bananas in Pyjamas” (rum, banana, nut); and at the end of the meal, the bill arrives in a plastic VHS case labeled “Be nice, rewind please.” More information: 631-730-8100, stndrec.com
topgolf (5231 Express Drive N., Holtsville): Along the Long Island Expressway in Holtsville, the TopGolf Sports Complex is an imposing facade. Covering 70,000 square feet, the behemoth building offers golf-centric entertainment across three floors, infusing good old-fashioned ball-striking with a dose of modern technology. Groups of six (with or without their own clubs) can check in to heated lounge-style bays ($20-$60 per hour) overlooking a driving range more than 200 meters deep. Servers deliver drinks and snacks such as fried mac and cheese bites, smoked chicken tacos and flatbreads to the chest, while players send microchipped balls towards outside targets, earning points for hitting their goals. New to the game? There are staff on hand to train your swing. You can also take a break at the rooftop or second-floor bars, which feature sports broadcasts and shuffleboard. More information: 631-977-7645, topgolf.com
SimPlay (180 Commerce Dr., Hauppauge): Golfers can also head to Hauppauge, where Simplay offers mock links ($45-55/hour; $125 for private suites) on 84 PGA-rated courses. Start, then navigate the virtual course with real-time swing analysis from the simulator. Guests can also dive into football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, or dodgeball games in virtual reality, and locals can drop by for a quick daily game lunch. Dang based on Islip! The barbecue runs the cantina, which offers wings, skillets of bubbling macaroni and cheese (with or without smoked meats, bacon or cornbread mixed in), brisket sandwiches and platters filled with ribs, smoked sausages and all fasteners. More information: 631-617-6363, simpleny.com
Bowl and meal
The clubhouse (174 Daniels Hole Rd., East Hampton): Near the East Hampton airport, Scott Rubenstein and his family opened The Clubhouse in 2018. The location also serves as the base for the adjacent indoor-outdoor tennis center in Rubenstein, and in the summer there are many visitors playing pétanque and 18 holes of mini golf. This time of year, locals come for the state-of-the-art bowling alleys (these areas host high school and adult leagues, but the public can play for $60 an hour, plus $5 for shoes) , the modern arcade, pool tables and dozens of televisions showing sports broadcasts. Snacks — available trackside or in the cafeteria-style dining room — include fried pickles and wings, White Russians, and Gray Goose strawberry lemonade. If you want to sit down for a real dinner, you won’t go wrong with the New York steak fries or the rigatoni bolognese. More information: 631-537-2695, clubhousehamptons.com
bowler (199 E. Jericho Tpke., Mineola): When Bowlero founder and CEO Tom Shannon purchased the original Bowlmor Lanes in Greenwich Village in 1997, he reinvented bowling — hitherto played in bowling shoes. scuffed rentals, with twinkling neon lights and pitchers of lukewarm pilsner – like a cosmopolitan activity with disco glamor and expensive cocktails. Twenty-five years later, Bowlero locations nationwide feature lounge seating in sparkling alleys (bowling costs $2-11 a game; shoes, $7-8), 21st-century arcades, well-appointed billiards and lively sports bars. Simple dishes include double-decker burgers, giant cookies warmed with ice cream, and crowd-friendly “dunk tank” punch bowls that are nearly four liters deep. (Other locations in Commack, Melville and Sayville). More info: 516-741-3444, bowlero.com