Board Game Bars in Iowa: Roll the Dice & Sip on Drinks


Are you looking for a fun and unique way to spend your evenings in Iowa? Look no further than board game bars! These bars offer a cozy and casual atmosphere where you can enjoy a cold drink and play your favorite board games with friends. From the eclectic decor of Valley Monster Pub to the family-friendly Des Moines Beer Garden, there’s a board game bar for everyone. And don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our top location picks. Keep reading to learn more!

🏆 Our Choice Recommendation:

***OUR TOP PICK: Our top choice is Firetrucker Brewery, located in Ankeny. With great service, a wide selection of craft beers, and a huge patio facing the sunset, Firetrucker Brewery is the perfect spot for a casual night out with friends. While it may not be the best fit for those looking for a more family-friendly atmosphere, Valley Monster Pub is a great alternative for those looking for a fun night out with the kids. Overall, Firetrucker Brewery stands out as the superior option for its exceptional service, unique selection of beers, and beautiful outdoor seating area.

🏅 Best By Category:

TOP AMENITIES: Sutliff Farm & Cider House – With a private upper area, shuffleboard, outdoor seating, and a unique decor, Valley Monster Pub offers the best amenities for a board game bar in Iowa.
BEST FOR QUIET GAMING: Firetrucker Brewery – With a huge patio facing sunset and a partnership with local restaurants/food trucks for dinner options, Firetrucker Brewery offers a quiet and cozy atmosphere for gaming.
GREAT FOR LARGE GROUPS: Valley Monster Pub – With a playground for kids, 4D and classic theaters, and a bar area with live music and board games, B&B Theatres Ankeny 12 & B-Roll Bowling is the perfect spot for large groups looking for a variety of entertainment options.

How We Are Rating These Locations:

1) 🍻 DRINK SELECTION: The variety and quality of beers and other drinks offered.
2) 🎨 ATMOSPHERE AND DECOR: The ambiance, decor, and overall vibe of the establishment.
3) 🎲 ENTERTAINMENT: The availability and quality of board games, shuffleboard, and other activities.
4) 🍔 FOOD: The quality and variety of food options available.
5) 🌳 OUTDOOR SPACE: The quality and accessibility of outdoor seating and green space.

Board game bars in Iowa offer a unique experience for those looking for a fun night out. When considering these types of businesses, there are a few factors to keep in mind. First and foremost, the atmosphere is key. The decor, lighting, and overall vibe can make or break the experience. Some places have an eclectic mix of taxidermy animals and shuffleboard, while others have a more modern feel with comfy chairs and couches. Another important consideration is the drink selection. From craft beer to whiskey, having a variety of options is crucial. And let’s not forget about the food. Some board game bars partner with local restaurants or food trucks, while others have their own menu with unique options. Of course, the board games themselves are a major draw. Having a good selection of games, from classics to newer options, is important. And last but not least, customer service is key. Friendly and knowledgeable staff can make all the difference in creating a memorable experience. So grab some friends, roll the dice, and enjoy a night out at one of Iowa’s board game bars.

Additional Criteria:

  • Live Entertainment – Availability of live music, performances, or other entertainment options.
  • Accessibility – The ease of access for customers with disabilities, including wheelchair accessibility and gender-neutral restrooms.
  • Payment Options – The variety of payment options available, including credit cards, debit cards, and NFC mobile payments.
  • Family Friendly – The suitability of the establishment for families with children, including good for kids, high chairs, and kids’ menus.

Option #1. Valley Monster Pub

Address: 209 4th St, Des Moines, IA 50309, United States Phone: +1 N/A

Live Entertainment: No information available
Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible entrance, parking lot, and restroom
Payment Options: Cash only, ATM available
Family Friendly: No information available

✅ Outdoor seating ✅ Bar games ✅ Fast service ✅ Great beer selection ✅ Seating

Valley Monster Pub located in Burlington, Iowa is a must-see destination for those seeking a one-of-a-kind experience at a board game bar. This establishment offers an impressive variety of craft beers, whiskeys, and spirits, as well as a charming outdoor seating area and an exclusive upper lounge complete with cozy chairs and a fireplace. The decor is exceptional, with an assortment of unique objects in every corner, including a collection of breweriana that is unmatched. However, some patrons have observed that the bar area can be dimly lit, and the taxidermy animals may not be to everyone’s liking. All in all, Valley Monster Pub is an excellent location to spend time with friends, enjoy a drink, and engage in some board game fun.


  • Wide selection of craft beers and whiskeys
  • Unique and eclectic decor with interesting items
  • Cozy outdoor seating and lounge area with games
  • Friendly and accommodating staff


  • Drinks can be a bit pricey
  • Limited selection of non-beer drinks

OUR RATING: Valley Monster Pub

🍻 DRINK SELECTION: 9/10 – Great variety of craft beers, whiskeys, and spirits. No mixed drinks.
🎨 ATMOSPHERE AND DECOR: 10/10 – Eclectic and unique decor, cozy and inviting atmosphere.
🎲 ENTERTAINMENT: 7/10 – Shuffleboard and a few board games available, but limited entertainment options.
🍔 FOOD: N/A – No information available.
🌳 OUTDOOR SPACE: 8/10 – Cozy and well-decorated outdoor seating area.

💯 OVERALL SCORE: 8.5/10 – Ideal for craft beer enthusiasts and those who appreciate unique decor and cozy atmosphere. Not ideal for those looking for a wide variety of entertainment options or food.

Option #2. B&B Theatres Ankeny 12 & B-Roll Bowling

Address: Water Works Park, 2251 George Flagg Pkwy, Des Moines, IA 50321, United States Phone: +1 N/A

Live Entertainment: No information available
Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible facilities
Payment Options: Credit cards, debit cards, NFC mobile payments
Family Friendly: Good for kids, family-friendly, high chairs

✅ Wheelchair accessible entrance ✅ Wheelchair accessible parking lot ✅ Wheelchair accessible restroom ✅ Wheelchair accessible seating ✅ Good for kids

B&B Theatres Ankeny 12 & B-Roll Bowling is an amazing entertainment spot that provides a vast array of amenities for visitors to relish. This cinema is an excellent venue to watch a movie, with its lavish reclining seating, reserved seats, and immaculate facilities. The theater also boasts a playground for children to frolic on before the movie commences, as well as other games and activities on the screen. Furthermore, the theater has 4D and classic rooms, and the soda fountain has a plethora of choices. Nevertheless, customers should note that if food is grilled, it may take a bit longer, and snacks and drinks can be pricey. In general, B&B Theatres Ankeny 12 & B-Roll Bowling is a fantastic location to take the kids out for a night, celebrate a birthday, or just have a good time.


  • Helpful and friendly management and staff
  • Huge, beautiful facility with bowling, theaters, and a bar
  • Fun place to take the kids for a night out
  • Clean facilities with luxurious reclining seating


  • Snacks and drinks are overpriced
  • Some chairs in theaters are noisy

OUR RATING: B&B Theatres Ankeny 12 & B-Roll Bowling

🍻 DRINK SELECTION: 8/10 – Fully stocked bar with great service. Soda stream has tons of options. Snacks and drinks are overpriced.
🎨 ATMOSPHERE AND DECOR: 9/10 – Beautiful, classy, and futuristic theater. Luxurious reclining seating. Clean facilities.
🎲 ENTERTAINMENT: 8/10 – Bowling lanes are clean and all working. Arcade and playground for kids. 4D and classic rooms available.
🍔 FOOD: 7/10 – Food options are expensive and small. The Works pizza was awesome. Allow extra time for food if off the grill.
🌳 OUTDOOR SPACE: N/A – No information available.

💯 OVERALL SCORE: 8/10 – Best for families with kids who want a fun night out. May not be ideal for those on a tight budget or looking for a quiet movie experience.

Option #3. Firetrucker Brewery

Address: 716 SW 3rd St, Ankeny, IA 50023, United States Phone: +1 515-964-1284

Live Entertainment: Available, frequent performances.
Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible entrance, parking, seating, restroom.
Payment Options: Accepts credit, debit, and NFC.
Family Friendly: Good for kids, high chairs.

✅ Outdoor seating ✅ Fast service ✅ Live music ✅ Dogs allowed ✅ Free Wi-Fi

Firetrucker Brewery is an absolute must-see destination for those in search of an exceptional board game bar experience in Iowa. This brewery boasts a vast outdoor space with a stunning view of the sunset, ample parking, and a partnership with local eateries and food trucks for dinner options. The staff is both amiable and knowledgeable, and the ambiance is ideal for a laid-back evening with loved ones. The brewery also features a blend of indoor and outdoor seating, periodic live music, and an array of board games to choose from. While a few patrons have reported minor issues with excessive foam in their beer or event reservations, these concerns pale in comparison to the overall positive experience at Firetrucker Brewery. All in all, Firetrucker Brewery is the perfect spot for those seeking a fun and one-of-a-kind board game bar experience in Iowa.


  • Good service and great beer selection
  • Large patio with sunset view
  • Partner with local restaurants/food trucks for dinner options
  • Friendly and attentive employees


  • Some customers did not enjoy their beers
  • Limited food options

OUR RATING: Firetrucker Brewery

🍻 DRINK SELECTION: 9/10 – Great variety and quality of beers and other drinks, including alcoholic ginger beers and Moscow mules.
🎨 ATMOSPHERE AND DECOR: 9/10 – Beautiful and unique decor, friendly staff, and a great outdoor patio.
🎲 ENTERTAINMENT: 7/10 – Some board games available, occasional music and art events.
🍔 FOOD: N/A – No information available.
🌳 OUTDOOR SPACE: 9/10 – Huge patio with great views and plenty of seating.

💯 OVERALL SCORE: 8.5/10 – Best for beer enthusiasts and those looking for a unique atmosphere, may not be ideal for those looking for a full food menu or extensive entertainment options.

Option #4. Bomb Bar

Address: 5898 Main St, Troy Mills, IA 52344, United States Phone: +1 319-224-3400

Live Entertainment: No information available
Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible parking lot, gender-neutral restroom
Payment Options: Credit cards, debit cards, NFC mobile payments
Family Friendly: No information available

✅ Bar games ✅ Great beer selection ✅ Great cocktails ✅ Gender-neutral restroom ✅ Fast service

Bomb Bar, located in the heart of Des Moines, is a small and enjoyable tavern that provides an excellent ambiance and exceptional mixologists. Their one-of-a-kind “visiting mixologist” idea contributes to the amusement factor, and they provide playing cards, tabletop games, and televisions to keep patrons entertained. The personnel at the bar are amiable, and the music is first-rate. The artwork is also a remarkable feature. Although it may not be the ideal location for large groups, it is an excellent starting or finishing point for a night out. Overall, Bomb Bar is a fantastic alternative for those seeking a relaxed venue with welcoming staff, exceptional beverages, and an enjoyable atmosphere. If you’re searching for a bar with board games in Iowa, Bomb Bar is unquestionably worth a visit.


  • Great vibe and atmosphere in downtown Des Moines.
  • Unique “guest bartender” concept adds to the experience.
  • Offers a variety of entertainment options, including games and TVs.
  • Friendly and knowledgeable staff who make great drinks.


  • Not an ideal location for large groups.


🍻 DRINK SELECTION: 8/10 – Positive reviews about the drinks and bartenders, but no specific information on variety.
🎨 ATMOSPHERE AND DECOR: 9/10 – Multiple reviews mention the great vibe, chill atmosphere, and amazing artwork.
🎲 ENTERTAINMENT: 7/10 – Some reviews mention cards, board games, and TVs, but no specific information on variety or quality.
🍔 FOOD: N/A – No information available.
🌳 OUTDOOR SPACE: 7/10 – One review mentions enjoying drinks at the farmers market, but no specific information on outdoor seating.

💯 OVERALL SCORE: 8/10 – Bomb Bar seems to have a great atmosphere and friendly staff, making it a good spot for those looking for a chill vibe and quality drinks. However, those looking for a wide variety of entertainment options or food may not find what they’re looking for here.

Option #5. Dharma’s Bar and Grill

Address: 382 Sutliff Rd, Lisbon, IA 52253, United States Phone: +1 319-535-0771

Live Entertainment: Active entertainment schedule, live music.
Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible entrance, restroom.
Payment Options: Credit cards, debit cards, NFC mobile payments.
Family Friendly: Good for kids, high chairs, kids’ menu.

✅ Bar games ✅ Live music ✅ Live performances ✅ Wheelchair accessible entrance ✅ Food at bar

Dharma’s Bar and Grill, situated in Troy Mills, is a snug pub that boasts an impressive selection of burgers and a distinctive food menu with a plethora of delectable options. The bar is known for its lively entertainment schedule, which includes music and board games, and the service is prompt and amiable. The ambiance is jovial and captivating, making it an ideal spot to drop by and indulge in some scrumptious food and drinks. Although the cuisine is typical of a grill, it surpasses the norm, and the burgers and tenderloins are exceptional. The proprietor ensures the food’s quality, and the staff is always welcoming. Nevertheless, the bar is a small-town establishment, and some patrons have remarked that the food can be pricey and that they dislike paying for each item separately. Overall, Dharma’s Bar and Grill is a fantastic place to grab a few beers, savor some delicious food, and have a great time with friends. It’s a must-visit for anyone cruising through the countryside on their motorcycle, and it’s a hidden gem in a small town that’s definitely worth exploring.


  • Fantastic burger menu with unique options
  • Fast and friendly service
  • Cozy and fun small town bar with great atmosphere
  • Positive experiences with good food and great service


  • Food can be typical grill food
  • Some may find it pricey with ala carte options

OUR RATING: Dharma’s Bar and Grill

🍻 DRINK SELECTION: 8/10 – Reasonable prices and good selection of drinks.
🎨 ATMOSPHERE AND DECOR: 7/10 – Cozy and unique decor, fun small town bar with charm.
🎲 ENTERTAINMENT: 9/10 – Very active entertainment schedule, anything from music to board games.
🍔 FOOD: 8/10 – Unique menu with a lot of great options, food is always good.
🌳 OUTDOOR SPACE: N/A – No information available.

💯 OVERALL SCORE: 8/10 – Best for those looking for a fun small town bar with great food and entertainment. Not ideal for those looking for a fancy or upscale atmosphere.

Option #6. Des Moines Beer Garden

Address: 217 Valley St, Burlington, IA 52601, United States Phone: +1 319-209-2443

Live Entertainment: Some live music available
Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible seating, restroom
Payment Options: No information available
Family Friendly: Good for kids, high chairs

✅ Outdoor seating ✅ Dine-in ✅ Delivery ✅ Wheelchair accessible seating ✅ Alcohol

Des Moines Beer Garden is a fantastic destination to spend quality time with your loved ones. The outdoor area is stunning, featuring trees that provide shade and a laid-back ambiance. They provide a range of German and American beers, along with grilled brats and other food alternatives. On certain evenings, live music is also available. The location is ideal for individuals who want to grab a drink after a bike ride or a run with their furry friend at Gray’s Lake. Nonetheless, some patrons have mentioned that the food can take a while to arrive, and the hours of operation may not always be precise. All in all, Des Moines Beer Garden is a one-of-a-kind and enjoyable addition to Iowa’s board game bar scene, providing a lovely green space to savor a relaxed drink or snack.


  • Friendly and helpful service
  • New food options coming soon
  • Live music some nights
  • Great location in a beautiful park


  • Underwhelming experience for some customers
  • Food not ready during opening hour

OUR RATING: Des Moines Beer Garden

🍻 DRINK SELECTION: 8/10 – Great selection of German beers and other drink options available.
🎨 ATMOSPHERE AND DECOR: 7/10 – Beautiful park location and relaxed atmosphere, but some reviewers found it underwhelming.
🎲 ENTERTAINMENT: 6/10 – Live music and board games available, but not much else.
🍔 FOOD: 6/10 – Limited food options available, but new options are coming soon.
🌳 OUTDOOR SPACE: 9/10 – Excellent outdoor seating and green space, with clean bathrooms and good access to nearby restrooms.

💯 OVERALL SCORE: 7.2/10 – Best for those looking for a casual drink or snack in a beautiful park setting, but may not be ideal for those looking for a wide variety of entertainment options or food choices.

More About The State

Iowa is more than just a hub for board game bars. This state in the Midwest boasts a wealth of history, culture, and natural beauty. The land was once home to Native American tribes and was first explored by French adventurers, making Iowa a place steeped in a fascinating past. In addition to its rich history, Iowa is also home to breathtaking geographical features such as the pine-covered hills of the Driftless Area and the rolling hills and bluffs of the Dissected Till Plains. The state’s most valuable natural resource is its fertile soil, which is used by farmers to grow the most corn in the country. Iowa is not just a destination for history enthusiasts and nature lovers, it is also the birthplace of President Herbert Hoover, television host Johnny Carson, and Nancy Drew author Mildred Wirt Benson. And let’s not forget about the house that inspired Grant Wood’s iconic painting “American Gothic” – it’s a must-visit spot for taking selfies. So why not plan a trip to Iowa and discover all that this amazing state has to offer? You won’t be disappointed!


🌇 – Head to Des Moines and check out the Iowa State Capitol, boasting a magnificent 23-karat golden dome and four smaller domes. Take a guided tour and climb up the winding stairs to get an up-close view of its stunning beauty.

🌳 – Get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and unwind in the seven villages that make up the Amana Colonies. Delight in local art, furniture, and cuisine while learning about the oldest communal societies in the country, dating back to German villages in 1714.

🐒 – Discover the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, where you can explore exhibits featuring 1,484 animals from around the world, including Japanese macaques, otters, and snow leopards. Children can interact with farm animals, play on the playground, or even ride a camel at the Kids Kingdom.

🌺 – Take a break from the city and escape to the Greater Des Moines Botanical Center’s temperate and tropical gardens. Attend workshops and events to enhance your gardening skills or bring nature into your home.

💦 – Cool off and have some fun at the Lost Island Waterpark in Waterloo, featuring nine major water slides and three major attractions, including the Kailahi River. Non-water activities such as golf and go-karts are also available outside the park.

🐠 – Embark on a journey along the Mississippi River through dynamic aquariums, wetlands, a boatyard, and historical exhibits at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque. Get up close to living creatures and tour William M. Black, a famous steamboat on the National Historic Register.


In conclusion, board game bars in Iowa offer a unique and enjoyable experience for customers. These businesses provide a fun and casual atmosphere where patrons can enjoy great drinks, delicious food, and a variety of board games. With the added bonus of live music and outdoor seating, these bars are the perfect spot to hang out with friends and family. Whether you’re a local or just passing through, be sure to check out the Valley Monster Pub, Bomb Bar, and Firetrucker Brewery for a memorable experience. And if you’re looking for a family-friendly option, the Des Moines Beer Garden is a great choice. Just remember to allow extra time for food and be aware of any event reservations. Overall, board game bars in Iowa offer a unique and exciting way to spend your time, and we highly recommend giving them a try. Thank you for taking the time to read this article, and we hope you have a great time exploring these businesses!

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