Game On

Bar arcades offer grown-up amusements.

The bar arcade concept combines two aspects of the terrestrial and digital—actually, analog—worlds, marrying craft beers and spirits with classic 1980s-era video games like “Mortal Kombat,” “Pac-Man” and “Donkey Kong.”

Four 20-something friends opened the first Barcade in late 2004 in a former metalworking shop in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, trademarking the name in 2007. 

Since then, the concept has taken flight on a wider scale, including in Virginia, which is seeing an upsurge in new establishments from Richmond to Roanoke. Firefly in Charlottesville’s Belmont neighborhood offers an enticing blend of craft beers and spirits, retro arcade games, pinball machines and board games. Galaxy Hut in Arlington features retro game consoles that double as tabletops, craft beers and a wide-ranging menu that also includes vegan options. 

And two groups are finalizing plans to bring the bar-cade concept to separate locations in Richmond’s Scott’s Addition. Local restaurateurs Jason Alley and Michele Jones (Comfort, Pasture), Jay Bayer (Saison), and developer Ted Ukrop are opening Bingo in the fall, and local businessman Robert Lupica, an original Sweet Frog franchisee, plans to open five blocks away in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. The Circuit will feature an automated, pay-as-you-drink, “self-tabbing” craft beer wall. What’s not to like? FireflyCVille.wordpress.com, GalaxyHut.com, ScottsAddition.com

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