A guide to places to play games near UC Berkeley

photo of Games of Berkeley sign
Matthew Gibson/Senior Staff

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Picture this: It’s Reading, Review and Recitation week — otherwise known as RRR or dead week — at UC Berkeley, and you are drowning in a sea of textbooks, study notes and homework. You are stressed, and the copious amounts of Red Bull and caramel macchiatos you consumed have only made you more anxious. Plus, rereading the same sentence of your study guide over and over again is getting really, really old. 

Playing games has been scientifically proven to increase brain cognition while decreasing stress levels, so here are some places near campus where you can play games with friends to unwind!

Games of Berkeley (2510 Durant Ave., Berkeley)

Take a trip down Durant Avenue to Games of Berkeley and check out its “Open Board Game Nights.” Running Mondays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Antechamber, these weekly $5 game nights are sure to be a fun time. Bring your friends (or be prepared to make new ones), and channel your competitive energy while playing one of your own games — or one of the more than 400 unique selections from the Game Library. This place even has some rare and vintage options, including the 1949 edition of Clue!

Bobby G’s Pizzeria (2072 University Ave., Berkeley)

Craving pizza and a good round of trivia after a particularly tiring study session? Bobby G’s Pizzeria holds “Hump Day Trivia Nights” every Wednesday starting at 7 p.m. Gather your trivia-crazy friends, and gear up for five rounds of questions, including music and pictures. Feast on delicious New York-style pizza, pasta or paninis as you show off your trivia knowledge for a chance to win gift certificates. If trivia isn’t your strong suit, create the most special team name for a chance to win a free drink.

Victory Point Cafe (1797 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley)

With an atmosphere of coffee beans, bustling patrons and clinking glasses, Victory Point Cafe is an ideal place to go when you need a break from long hours at a soul-sucking library. Check out the cafe’s large collection of board games and selection of roasted coffees, sandwiches, pizzas and snacks at Monday 6 p.m. “Open Gaming Nights.” There is a $7.50 participation fee, but it’s waived if you purchase at least two items off of the menu, so grab some food as you enjoy a game of Jenga!

Plank (98 Broadway, Oakland)

After slouching (and crying?) over your textbooks for an indescribable amount of time, visit Plank to take your mind off of approaching finals. Throw some strikes at a bowling lane, indulge in a game of bocce on the sunlit patio or challenge your friends to billiards. If you’re feeling nostalgic, Plank’s large arcade offers a multitude of classic arcade games such as Pacman, Tetris and Pong. And if you find your stomach grumbling in the middle of a game, order yourself some of its Quarto Tacos!

Kip’s Bar and Grill (2439 Durant Ave., Berkeley)

Free drinks and merch anybody? The winners of Kip’s Tuesday Trivia Nights win the grand prize, but free T-shirts and other prizes are also up for grabs. Starting at 7 p.m. and running for a total of five rounds, Kip’s Trivia Nights have become a Berkeley staple. With a night of themed trivia questions, Taco Tuesday deals (c’mon, $2 tacos!) and boisterous laughter, you are guaranteed to have a blast!

Contact Joy Chen at [email protected].