Play date: Get your game on while you drink and dine in the Iowa City area

Forbidden Planet PIZZA + ARCADE
Forbidden Planet Pizza + Arcade in Iowa City

If you’re looking for the ultimate play date, here are six places where you can show your stuff.

Riverside Casino

3184 Hwy. 22, Riverside |

If you and your date like gambling, Riverside is a no-brainer; there are thousands of casino favorites for all skill levels, ranging from penny slots to Texas Hold ‘Em. There’s also a golf course, and a spa, where you can get a couples’ massage and then enjoy the spa services, like a hot tub and steam room, for the remainder of the day. The resort hotel has lavish rooms with tasteful, modern decor and luxurious beds. Perhaps you and your date can play a round of golf, win some money with the highrollers at craps, blow your winnings on a gorgeous 14-ounce hunk of prime angus Delmonico ribeye topped with lump crab Oscar and a bottle of Michael David RAPTURE, carefully selected by your attentive server, and then repair to your room for some postprandial petting. Or maybe you prefer penny slots and Robert’s Buffet, or the Ripple Diner; that’s fine, too.

 Forbidden Planet Pizza + Arcade
Forbidden Planet Pizza + Arcade

Forbidden Planet Pizza + Arcade

111 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City |

If your tastes lean more toward pizza and videogames, you don’t have to leave town for a family-friendly excursion. Forbidden Planet has arcade games to suit all ages, and expertly crafted pizza and cocktails. You can play it old school and enjoy a bottle of High Life, a traditional margherita pizza, and a game of Centipede or Galaga, or you can live on the edge with a “Resident Evil,” a signature tequila cocktail featuring a kick of ginger, jalapeno and cilantro. The thin-crust pizza stays true to its Neapolitan counterparts, with a nicely chewy crust; thick-crust monstrosities like the “Italian Stallion Medallion,” which features pepperoni, sausage, andouille, salami, bacon and mozzarella, are far less traditional but no less delicious. Just try not to get sauce on the gorgeous Wizard of Oz pinball machine!

Colonial Lanes
Colonial Lanes in Iowa City

Colonial Lanes

2253 Old Hwy. 218 S., Iowa City
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Located on the southwest side of Iowa City, Colonial Lanes is a divebar amusement park contained in a warehouse-sized brick building decorated to evoke Colonial architecture. In addition to 24 bowling lanes, they have a mini-golf course, arcade games, darts, pool, a mini ‘50s diner and a sunken bar. The bar’s specialty is Jell-O shots; if that’s not the type of night that you’re going for, opt for something less potent like a domestic beer, or go to the diner for a root beer float.

Wildwood Smokehouse and Saloon

4919 Dolphin Dr. S.E., Iowa City

If you’re in the mood to put on your dancing shoes, or in this case cowboy boots, Wildwood is the honky tonk just for that. If dancing isn’t your thing — although on Thursday nights free country dance lessons are available — there are many other social activities. You can tip your hat to the weekend while riding their mechanical bull, Spanky, or raise your glass to a local country star performing on stage. Whether you’re looking for a place to let loose with a cocktail or a cold one, Wildwood has a full-service bar. Last, but certainly not least, barbecue! Wildwood is known for their amazing smoked wings, ribs, brisket and barbecue sauces. Escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown and enjoy some good ol’ Southern food and entertainment.


118 E. College St., Iowa City

For those looking for a more thought-provoking evening, head to FilmScene in downtown Iowa City. They have a good selection of wines and beers, so you can grab a local craft brew and some Iowa popcorn and snuggle in for a good movie. The intimate theater’s constantly changing roster of arty, independent, foreign and classic films will be the perfect way to start a stimulating post-film conversation.

TCB Pool Hall

114 E. College St., Iowa City
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With an open floor plan and plenty of bar games, TCB is great for a group playdate. There are 10 pool tables that make the room feel like a smoky billiards hall — except without the smoke. Because of its location on the Ped Mall, it sometimes fills with undergrads, but if you get there early you’re sure to get a good table. If pool isn’t your thing, try your hand at shuffleboard or darts.



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