Greg Lambert concentrates while playing an old-school arcade game on recent afternoon at Barcadia. Lambert isn’t a Dallas resident, but he visits the bar on Henderson Avenue as often as possible, specifically for the retro games like Frogger, PacMan and Mortal Kombat.
Lambert is part of a growing fan base for bars that offer games in addition to drinks and music. At Barcadia, customers can play Jenga, skee ball, and even a giant game of tic-tac-toe.
“We started off with fewer games and got more,” said Barcadia bartender Tim Newtown. “Originally it was old school, 80s games and that didn’t catch on as hard as we hoped, so we brought in Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, picked up a pinball and more skee ball.”
In addition to Barcadia, Milo Butterfinger’s on SMU Boulevard and Kung Fu in Uptown are popular game bars in Dallas. In Fort Worth, Abbey Pub is popular, offering shuffle board, beer pong, Golden Tee, and a digital jukebox. Oak Street Draft House, a game bar in Denton, offers board games and ping-pong.
Barcadia is decked out in retro posters and has a patio that looks onto eclectic Henderson Avenue. Warehouse-style doors open up to the patio, giving the entire bar an open-air feel.
It has become a favorite bar among customers. Phillip Peterson says his favorite part about Barcadia is “the proximity to awesomeness.”
Peterson was having drinks on the patio with his friend Kristin Philip on a Sunday afternoon. Philip says that Barcadia is one of their favorites in the Greenville area. She likes the bar, the patio, and the atmosphere as a whole. “Good drinks, good times, good people. There’s something for everybody,” she said.
Customers enjoy how laid-back Barcadia is. Many revel in the nostalgia of playing the games they did as children.
“I like that I get to play skee ball, which was a childhood pastime of mine. So it brought me back. I like how its super laid back because you can buy a drink, play your arcade game and there isn’t a lot of pressure,” Elena Politiski, SMU junior says.
Another bar that uses games to attract customers is Milo Butterfinger’s on SMU Boulevard. A favorite among SMU students, Milo’s is popular any night of the week.
Eric Trexel, SMU engineering major and Milo Butterfinger’s regular, says Milo’s games feed his competitive side. He likes to play darts and foosball when grabbing drinks with his friends.
Along with darts and foosball, Milo’s also has pool tables and video games.
Other competitive souls, such as SMU junior, Abby Lowman, prefer playing Connect Four and life size Jenga at Kung Fu Saloon in Uptown.
“Kung Fu is great if you’re looking for a laid back night in Uptown,” she said. “It’s nice to do something different with your friends and have a few drinks and get competitive over games.”
Kung Fu is known to have a line out the door and down the street during the weekend. It’s one of the most packed bars in Uptown. The ambiance is part vintage arcade, part sports bar, and part late night dance party. There’s something for everyone.
It has 20 vintage arcade games, shuffleboard, foosball, giant jenga, giant connect four, board games, and five skee ball machines. If you can carry a tune, it also has two private karaoke rooms.