On the last night of my two-week work trip to Brooklyn, our team went out for dinner. As I looked at the map for the restaurant we picked during our Lyft XL ride (where we were jammed into a mini-SUV), I saw a name a recognized down the block from our destination.
I might have said out loud “This place is next to BARCADE!?!?!”
I had read about Barcade in Sharon’s article about the Ten Really Cool Places For Geeks & Nerds To Visit In NYC. Never did I think I’d accidentally be having dinner only one block away.
I polled the group on who was up to go and fortunately I was traveling with a group of geeks (our team leader brought his PlayStation with him on the trip to play in the room during downtimes). Oh, we were going to Barcade after dinner, and my inner 12-year-old couldn’t have been happier.
Barcade – The Original Arcade Bar
388 Union Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11211
I was in heaven as soon as I entered the door.
It wasn’t the arcade I remembered. It was the arcade the current me wanted to see. Complete with a bar serving local beers and craft cocktails. I went for a bourbon.
As I was waiting for my drink, I started to notice things from my past. Joust. Mike Tyson Punch-Out. Dig-Dug.
This is the bar for those who appreciate Stranger Things, not because it’s retro but because we lived through the ’80s.
Besides having all the classic video games like Defender, Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga they also had some of the more obscure titles like Moon Pilot and Bezerk. They also had games for those who’s arcade era was more current like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Simpsons, Crazy Taxi and NBA Jam (He’s on FIRE!!!)
There were also several pinball games, including some classic titles. Unlike most arcades, all of these machines worked like they were brand new.
Then I saw it. Star Wars Trilogy Arcade. Not the original vector line version, which I still like to play, but the newer version. I was a bit rusty. I used to be able to get through Endor on a single play with shields leftover but it took me a few credits to get through Hoth and get up to Boba Fett. I messed up one move and lost the battle. I never got to fight Darth Vader.
One of my co-workers went onto the game next to me and started playing a version of NES Super Mario Bros. He immediately went for the warp to the sewer level and I knew I was here with the right people.
I wished I could hang out longer to find out what the heck the four-player game with only Japanese subtitles was about but we had to head back to the hotel.
If you want to remember your visit to Barcade, they sell merchandise.
I’m thankful I was able to visit Barcade with a group of people as geeky as I am. We all had a blast playing video games and just having a great time. That’s what this place is. It’s not retro for the sake of retro alone. It’s somewhere to remember the past and realize that those things can still have a place in the present.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary