The definition of a No-Sweat Olympic sport: challenging enough that you have to concentrate, but easy enough to play while not spilling your beer. That’s the beauty of cornhole. Like shot put, it requires skill and precise aim with your throwing arm, but one hand is free to hold your pint. Long a staple of football tailgate picnics and family reunions, cornhole — or beanbag toss, or bags — has become an attraction at outdoor bars in recent years, including the Fairgrounds and the New York Avenue Beach Bar. You can play in any weather at the new Penn Social downtown, though, because the 13,000-square-foot entertainment zone offers four cornhole sets on Tuesday nights. There’s an organized league from 6 to 9 p.m., but once those games are over, anyone can jump in and play for free. (If there’s a line, you can play Skee-ball, giant Jenga, pool, darts, board games or, in a few weeks, cruise-ship-style shuffleboard.) — F.H.
Penn Social, 801 E St. NW. 202-697-4900. www.pennsocialdc.com. Other places to play:
Fairgrounds, 1290 Half St. SE. www.fairgroundsdc.com/www/about.html. New York Avenue Beach Bar, 645 New York Ave. NW. 202-656-9229. www.nyavebeachbar.com.
Yes, you can play foosball, shuffleboard, darts and Golden Tee. And there are more flat-screen TVs than on the display floor at a Best Buy. But the main draw at Buffalo Billiards is indicated in the name itself. The 15 pool tables are among the nicest in the District, with smooth felts and cues that won’t give you splinters. (Those who have encountered decaying cues at places where pool tables are an afterthought know how important this is.) The enormous underground spot covers more than 14,000 square feet and can be a maze to navigate. You don’t make plans to simply meet at Buffalo Billiards; you make plans to meet in a specific area unless you want to send “where r u?” texts to buddies for five minutes. The size works to its advantage, though. For as many people as the place can hold, it never feels cramped. This is especially important when you are trying to knock the nine ball into the far corner pocket and don’t want to jab an innocent intern enjoying a Miller Lite. Each weekday features different food and drink specials, and combined with reasonable table rental rates, a night of playing shouldn’t put too big a dent in your wallet. — D.M.
1330 19th St. NW. 202-331-7665. www.dc.buffalobilliards.com. Prices vary; $8-$18/hour at off-peak times; $12-$22/hour during peak. Other places to play: Bedrock Billiards, 1841 Columbia Rd. NW. 202-667-7665. www.bedrockbilliards.com. Carpool, 208 Elden St., Herndon. 571-203-7995. www.carpoolweb.com.
Are there more glamorous local spots than Bowl America in Falls Church to roll a few frames? Yes! All of them. But that’s the overwhelming appeal of this alley. The most common social gatherings here are bowling leagues and children’s birthday parties, not interns meeting for happy hour. If you come for any reason other than to try to rack up the turkeys, strikes and spares, you’re doing it wrong. From the simple, neon BOWL AMERICA sign out front to the harsh overhead lighting to the musty smell that can be achieved only after many years of other people’s feet in the same bowling shoes, this is a bowler’s bowling alley. It also can be a drinker’s bowling alley — a large pitcher of beer will run you about $15, or the price of a pair of bottles at an upscale spot. There’s the usual array of pizza, fries and other snacks, but the quality may remind you more of high school lunch than your favorite bar. That’s not really a problem, though. The lanes are plentiful (more than 40), so you’re highly unlikely to encounter a wait, and the prices are cheap enough that you can get some practice in and school your friends the next time the competition is official. — D.M.