The Best Barcades In The US

Once a bonafide American phenomenon, the arcade has sadly been relegated to the dustbin of history. The ease and impressive power of console gaming signaled the mass extinction of arcades starting around the mid-90s, and while a few die hard spots remain, they are few and far between: mere relics of a bygone cultural era. But for many of us, the arcade—with its pizza-greased arcade sticks and fierce head-to-head competition—is a form of pure nostalgic bliss, a way to briefly recapture the endless summer of youth. Savvy bar owners looking to capitalize on that nostalgia have introduced a new kind of classic gaming experience with the Barcade—a place for adults to play retro arcade games while quaffing fine beers and cocktails. So if you’re ready to drop a few quarters and down a few drinks check out five of our favorite barcades right now.

Barcade Brooklyn
Of course the barcade trend had to be born in Brooklyn, right? The OG of the game, Barcade Brooklyn started the craze way back in 2004. With an incredible and ever-changing lineup of craft brews to enjoy with your favorite 80s arcade games (my personal favorite: Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA paired with Q*Bert), these guys show why the original is still the best. And though they have opened up additional Barcades all over NYC and in Philadelphia, the Brooklyn location is the one to get your gaming fix thanks to a knowledgeable bar staff and fantastic local events.

Coin-Op Game Room
San Diego is known as the American mecca of beer and the Coin-Op Game Room, located in the charming midtown neighborhood of North Park, takes full advantage of the local specialty. Don’t sleep on their cocktails however, they are unique and well-mixed. With gaming themed drinks—including Street Fighter II’s “Psycho Crusher” reimagined as a potent whiskey sour—this is an establishment that takes its theme to heart without ever feeling forced or cheesy. While it can get crowded on weekends, Coin-Op is a great place to wind-down in the post-work hours.

Ground Kontrol
With a huge selection of arcade classics from both the 80s and 90s, Portland's Ground Kontrol puts the arcade in Barcade. You’ll find old-school favorites like Bubble Bobble and Dig Dug, 90s classics like the Metal Slug series, and even a Dance Dance Revolution in case you want to make a fool out of yourself in front of strangers (just like every wedding you’ve been to?). Ground Kontrol sports a full bar and modest pub fare to round out the package. A must for the gamer visiting the Pacific Northwest and locals alike.

Headquarters, the self-proclaimed “Beercade”, is the Chicago’s finest mix of retro arcade action and delicious adult beverages—and an absolute no-brainer if you’re at all a fan of pinball. While it may have dropped off even harder than traditional arcade games, pinball is alive and well at Headquarters with 7000 square feet of machines for you to lose your quarters to, including licensed classics like X-Men, Avengers, Popeye, Star Wars, the Corvette, and many more. With video-game themed cocktails and an eclectic ambience, Headquarters could become your headquarters during the long Chicago winter.

The 1UP
Featuring 50 classic arcade games, 19 pinball machines, and a faux-arcade console that serves up a variety of craft beers, The 1UP in Denver, Colorado is a true paradise for the imbibing gamer. But the coolest part of The 1Up is its commitment to the gaming community. Take “The Kong Off”: a semi-yearly event in which the breakout stars of the incredible documentary The King of Kongs (available to stream) descend on Denver to compete against each other. Come for games and brews; stay for Billy Mitchell’s atrocious tie collection.

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