The Rook and 16-Bit prove to be bundles of fun

Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor | The Rook is a board game parlor with more than 800 games on the walls to enjoy. The games are free, though purchasing food is expected.

Staff writer Michael Rauber reviews two bars in Over-the-Rhine that provide some great experiences to wine, dine and enjoy different board and arcade games, entirely for free.

If you want to revisit your childhood and play the board games and arcade games that you enjoyed as a kid, then you should probably head down to The Rook and 16-Bit in Over-the-Rhine.

The Rook

The Rook, a board game parlor on Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine, has walls of games that range from Scrabble to Jenga, Connect Four to Cards Against Humanity and Wits and Wagers to The Game Without Decency.

There are 800+ games on the walls, including family-friendly games, trivia style games, multiplayer ones for larger groups as well as two player games and many more.
The bar’s main floor has the bar, the wall of games and tables for smaller groups, while the upstairs portion has larger tables meant for bigger groups.

The Rook also hosts events, including a monthly trivia night on the third Wednesday of each month, as well as other special game nights. See the website for details.
They do not accept reservations but allow people to bring their own games if they have more than 12 people.

The only rule is that the games are free to play, just eat and drink while you play, which helps to keep the games up to date and helps the bar add to their library.

While playing different games through the night, you can enjoy drinks, delicious appetizers and entrees. Perhaps one of the best parts of The Rook is that you only need to be over the age of 18 for admission.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Rook, and the games they offered made for a fun night with friends and delicious food.

Photo courtesy of Flickr | 16-Bit is a bar in Over-the-Rhine with more than 50 arcade games available that are, except for pinball, entirely free for patrons to play.


16-Bit+Arcade on Walnut Street has over 50 arcade style games, including classics such as Pacman, Street Fighter, NFL Blitz, Big Buck Hunter and other games that date back to the 80s and 90s. Like The Rook, 16-Bit continues to add to their game selection.

The Ohio-based establishment has locations spread across the state in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland and Dublin.

Like The Rook, 16-Bit also has theme nights, private events, tap takeovers and pop up tournaments as well as drink deals.

At 16-Bit, patrons can enjoy drinks from a selection of craft beers and cocktails. The website also details pub crawls that are recurring each month.

The best part about the games at 16-Bit is that they are free (except for pinball, which costs 25 cents).

However, you do need to be 21 for admission and should probably purchase drinks if you intend to play games at the bar.

Overall, my experience at 16-Bit was a good one, and I would recommend it to anyone who thinks that they can hit a hot streak on Pacman.

By: Michael Rauber | Staff Writer