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Nightlife: Game On Fenway

Table tennis, batting cages, and now, coal-fired oven-baked pizza

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The 2016 Red Sox season officially began on Monday, much to the relief of the city’s baseball fans. And that means big business for the numerous bars and restaurants in the Fenway Park area. Plenty offer a place to grab a bite and a beer before, during, or after a game, but if you’re looking for something more, check out Game On Fenway. The popular sports bar’s street level has just reopened as Max and Leo’s Artisan Pizza at Game On and lays claim to being the first restaurant in Boston to offered pizza cooked in a coal-fired oven.

Yes, Game On still sports the 10 championship-style Ping-Pong tables, two cornhole sets, a batting cage (it’s the same one used by visiting teams at Fenway Park), and 32 wide-screen hi-def TVs that have made it a popular draw for Red Sox fans. But it’s the reimagined first floor that has everyone talking.

The transformation took place last November, when Game On owner Patrick Lynch invited identical twins Max and Leo Candidus to open a Fenway outpost of their popular Newton Corner artisanal pizzeria. Their secret? Pizzas that are baked in a coal-fired oven for just two minutes at 900 degrees, producing extra-crispy yet thin pies.

We stopped by recently on a game day with just 25 minutes to go before the first pitch, and were able to snag a table near the bar. The new interior has a rustic décor: high-top chairs that are surprisingly comfortable, soft lighting, exposed brick walls, and an open kitchen.

Game On Fenway Boston MA

Chipotle lime chicken wings served with blue cheese dressing and celery is one of the many popular options at Game On Fenway.

After looking over the new menu with careful deliberation, we settled on the house-favorite barbecue chicken pizza and an order of chipotle lime wings ($10.50). (Just a side note, the pizzas are 15″ for dinner ($13.99 to $15.99) and 10″ for lunch ($8.99 to $11.99.) Diners can choose from among several options. More than 30 toppings are offered for those who want to build their own pie. A standout is a mac and cheese pie.

The food took only about 10 minutes to arrive. The pizza was obviously made with attention to detail: the grilled chicken, mozzarella, smoked gouda, red onions, and scallions were well balanced and the pizza was served hot, but not scalding. Our one complaint was that it could have used more honey barbecue sauce.

The boned wings (eight pieces per serving) were small and flavorful. They weren’t overly lathered in chipotle sauce, and the skin contained just enough zest. The blue cheese dressing was a little watery, but it made dipping the wings easier.

Game On also offers a variety of sandwiches, salads, and appetizers; if you’re extra hungry, order the popular coal-fired baked nachos appetizer.

A range of soft drinks is available, as well as a wide selection of imported and domestic beers and wines, including a popular sangria. With the arrival of Max and Leo’s on the street level, the new cocktail menu is more sophisticated than what’s served at most Fenway bars.

Game On Fenway Boston MA

Game On Fenway offers table tennis and a second bar area on the lower level.

A word for those with a sweet tooth: Game On doesn’t serve dessert, so if you’re looking for something sweet, head across the street to the Fenway Café.

Use of the batting cage on the lower floor typically requires prebooking, but the Ping-Pong tables are available for walk-ins.

With its exceptional service, fun activities, and now the arrival of Max and Leo’s Artisan Pizza, we plan to return to Game On to catch more Red Sox home games.

Game On Fenway, 82 Lansdowne St., Boston, is open year-round for lunch and dinner, Monday through Thursday, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Friday through Sunday, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Tomorrow, Friday, April 15, the Red Sox host the Blue Jays at 7:10 p.m. Game On Fenway accepts all major credit cards. Find a menu here.

This is part of a series featuring Boston nightlife venues of interest to the BU community. If you have any suggestions for places we should feature, leave them in the Comment section below.

Emmanuel Gomez can be reached at mannygo@bu.edu.

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