We Rounded Up Five Game Venues Offering Year-Round Indoor Play

Think you need to expose yourself to the elements of winter to get in some game time? Guess again.

For some people, winter is the season for hunkering indoors with a mug of hot cider and a plate of soft ginger molasses cookies. It’s scary outside—and not just because of the cold. When you’re an introvert who prizes coziness above all else, the holidays are a time when intrusive friends demand that you “come out of your shell” and join them for skiing, snowboarding and countless other pursuits that don’t involve either Pendleton blankets or space heaters.

Admittedly, neither do any of the places or activities on this list. But all of them do allow the outdoor-averse to enjoy some sporty cheer without forcing you into the snow, rain or biting temperatures that would have made you want to wear an N95 face mask even before COVID.

Want to golf? We’ve got you covered. Into pingpong? Step right up. Looking to pair your indoor exertions with some delicious drinks and nosh? Glorious menus await. ‘Tis the season to be jolly—and comfortable at the same time.

Birdie Time Pub

925 SE Main St., 971-346-2034, birdietimepub.com. 4-10 pm Monday-Wednesday, noon-11 pm Thursday, noon-midnight Friday-Saturday, noon-10 pm Sunday.

Birdie Time is basically a boutique take on family fun centers like Dave & Buster’s or Big Al’s—only with much better beer, and the focus is on golf. The nine-hole course is the centerpiece, but it’s not the only feature vying for your attention. The walls of the former stamping warehouse are splashed with Lisa Frank-palette murals, there are 15 TV screens, a driving range simulator is available to rent for $50 an hour, and the skee-golf game is free. But, really, you’re here for putt-putt. Founder Eric Syverson designed the course and its features, which include a goal-tending Sasquatch, strategically placed kegs, and a miniature Fremont Bridge studded with toy cars—a scene that may inspire commuters who are often stuck on the span to take out their aggression with their clubs. Three holes even begin with spinning wheels that, depending on where they land, direct you to roll the ball like you’re bowling (helpful!) or use a baseball bat to drive it home (hard!). Ultimately, an hour or so in Biwrdie Time feels like you’re living in a giant cartoon—an absurdist escape we could all use right now. ANDI PREWITT.

Glowing Greens PDX

509 SW Taylor St., 503-222-5554, glowinggreens.com. 3-7 pm Monday-Thursday, 3-9 pm Friday, noon-9 pm Saturday, noon-7 pm Sunday.

Where better to play miniature golf than a psychedelic pirate’s cove? With its blacklight-illuminated course, ocean-themed décor and cartoonishly creepy touches (watch out for the neon-green alligator!), Glowing Greens is more than a place to play 13 holes—it’s a beautifully bizarre work of art. Despite being a block away from Pioneer Place, it doesn’t really seem to belong in downtown Portland. Descending from the street into its atmospheric shadows, you feel as if you’re entering a kingdom of charming kitsch that could easily fit in just around the corner from the Wax Works in Newport. And if you get tired of guiding your golf ball through an obstacle course that features everything from a gigantic skull to delightfully inexplicable street lamps that look straight out of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, you can try your hand at ax throwing or busting out of the Mental Trap Escape Room. How can you resist all that, matey? BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON.

Celtic Axe Throwers at Laurelwood Brewing

5115 NE Sandy Blvd., 503-282-0622, celticaxethrowers.com/laurelwood. 4-9 pm Monday-Thursday, 3-9 pm Friday, 11 am-10 pm Saturday, 11 am-9 pm Sunday.

How much do you trust your co-workers, friends or loved ones? Enough to let them toss a small hatchet around after quaffing a few ales? If you’re not a person who keeps up on trends or spends the afternoon scanning the far reaches of ESPN+, you may have missed the news that ax throwing is all the rage right now. Competitive leagues are popping up across the U.S., and groups like the Celtic Axe Throwers are spreading the gospel of this age-old sport right here in Portland.

The members of CAT have set up ax-throwing lanes at various locations around the city, with all of them situated very close to bars or within brewpubs. To get started, all you need is to grab a friend or a bunch of friends and sign up online for an hourlong session. A friendly face from CAT will be on hand to show you the proper technique and teach you some games to make things interesting.

On a recent rainy weekday, my teenage son and I stopped by the lanes tucked within Laurelwood Brewing on Sandy Boulevard, where a brusque but helpful gent—built, appropriately enough, like a lumberjack—had us whipping axes at blocks of wood within minutes. Turns out, my kid is a natural, while I found myself frequently hitting the target sideways, sending my ax bouncing to the ground. No injuries had to be reported, save my bruised pride. ROBERT HAM.

Pips & Bounce

833 SE Belmont St., 503-928-4664, pipsandbounce.com. 4-10 pm Wednesday-Thursday, 4 pm-midnight Friday, noon-midnight Saturday, noon-10 pm Sunday.

If you’re tired of tennis and immune to the allure of the pickleball revolution, maybe it’s time to think small—in style. Located on Southeast Belmont (near Grand Central Bowl & Arcade), Pips & Bounce is a haven for pingpong fanatics. Founded by brothers Michael and Eugene Jung, who grew up playing table tennis in their basement rec room in Appalachian Kentucky, the bustling pong bar offers five tables, 50 paddles and plenty of drinks and snacks (including Parmesan bread bites with Pips & Bounce’s own tomato-basil-garlic sauce). It’s the perfect place for anyone who’s sick of pingpong being pigeonholed as that goofy game in the 2007 Christopher Walken comedy Balls of Fury—and anyone who wants to relax with an old fashioned or an iced Irish coffee after a match. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON.

Senet Game Bar

12553 SW Main St., #201, Tigard, 503-583-7412, senetgamebar.com. 5-10 pm Monday-Thursday, 5-11 pm Friday-Saturday.

Dating back to 3100 B.C. in Egypt, senet is one of the world’s oldest board games (sadly, its popularity faded during the Roman period). It is also the name of Tigard’s snazzy board game bar, which features a library of quick-playing games (15 to 45 minutes), but also table rentals if you want to enjoy more epic pursuits, like D&D. Senet offers a pleasingly inventive menu, complete with four different varieties of quesadillas, cheesecake, avocado toast and, audaciously, an Adult Lunchable (which includes pita bread, cheese, pepperoni, pepperoncini and ham). Plus, there’s a host of clever cocktails available, including 50 Shades of Earl Gray (bourbon, Earl Gray syrup, vanilla soy milk). Game on! BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON.