Newly-renamed BarcadeAtlas Arcade officially opens today at 1236 H Street NE. I managed to check out their soft opening (like a boss) and while not everything was quite finished, I came away with a great first impression. The space limitation makes it quite difficult to make it a full-fledged, substantial arcade, but they’ve impressively packed in nearly 10 game cabinets, a foosball table, a Big Choice machine, and darts in the back.
The music was fantastic — all strictly 80s— and it really made you feel like a kid again. They’ve done a great job catering to a very specific clientele – those born and raised in the Reagan years. The bar is stocked with a good selection of beer in bottles as well as a few choice liquors for those who choose not to partake of heady brews.
I was a bit disappointed with the inclusion of a Big Buck Hunter cabinet, but at least there was no Golden Tee. Also, each game costs at least 50 cents, and I gotta say — people will play longer and most likely consume more booze if the games only cost a quarter. The rise of 50 cent arcade games in the early 90s, coupled with the ubiquity of home gaming consoles, led to a precipitous drop in arcade use. Also, the Big Choice machine was filled with lackluster prizes. Suggestion for Erik and Co. — the machine takes up a lot of space — either replace it with several more games or fill it with better stuff, such as free drink tickets, baggies filled with quarters, or H Street t-shirts. Yeah, that last one!
And if you run out of quarters, chill at the bar and play old school Nintendo, Sega, or Atari [!!!] games at one of 2 consoles stationed at either end of the bar. Pretty rad.
I was assured that they’re ordering more cabinets to increase the game selection, which, as of this weekend, was a bit sparse. Despite these little kinks, I’m already in love with the place. It’s a great new neighborhood hangout. Check it out!