BLIP! BLEEP, ZAP!, PEW-PEW! Time machines unfortunately don’t exist in 2019, but nothing comes as close to zipping through time like walking into an arcade full of retro games. Throw in some close friends and some craft beers and spirits and you’re about to have an amazing night.
I recently had a discussion with Mike Clark, Marketing Marketing manager with Rise Brands, the parent company of 16-Bit Bar. I found his industry insights fascinating. Here is our chat:
NJB: What is 16-Bit Bar? Who first conceived of it?
16-Bit: 16-Bit Bar + Arcade redefines how a night out is best played. With a name coined from the computer architecture that several of our 50+ vintage arcade games were built on, 16-Bit appeals to those looking for an alternative to the monotonous. Our founder and CEO, Troy Allen, came up with the concept and opened the first 16-Bit in Columbus, Ohio in 2013.
NJB: The arcade bar industry seems to be booming. Why do you think that is?
16-Bit: Today, people are looking to be constantly entertained, it’s not enough to just stand around a bar and drink anymore. By offering our unique take on old school entertainment, we provide guests with a one-of-a-kind experience that they can’t wait to share with other people. Everyone loves a little friendly competition!
NJB: What sort of experience do you try to cultivate at your locations?
16-Bit: 16-Bit Bar+Arcade allows guests to relive the nostalgia and playful vibe of their childhood through familiar video games, movies, music, and even cocktails. From the music and movies we play, to the overall aesthetic and graphics, we wanted the bar to have many visual cues that take people back in time.
NJB: You recently opened a new location in Indianapolis. How was that selection made and how do you feel you compare to the competition in the area that has a well established following?
16-Bit: As with all our brands, creating a one-of-a-kind experience is our number one priority. We offer our guests an alternative to a standard night out. Our old school entertainment and classic arcade games, which are all set to free play, provide guests with an opportunity to step back in time and relive their childhood all while enjoying delicious handcrafted cocktails.
NJB: How do you go about locating games?
16 Bit: We buy our games direct from collectors and game enthusiasts throughout the nation. In doing so, we are able to maintain the integrity of our brand by offering our guests a truly retro experience.
NJB: How do you go about sourcing your beer, wine and spirit offerings?
16 Bit: We work closely with our local and national distribution partners to identify the best possible products available in the market and work internally to compose menu’s that are well rounded and pleasing to all of our guests.
NJB: Is there a specific era of arcade games that seem to be more popular?
16-Bit: All of our arcade games are from the ’80s and ‘90s era. We have found that the classics, such as Pac man and space invaders, tend to be the most popular with our guests.
NJB: Where can people find out more about 16-Bit Bar and where are you located?
16-Bit: We currently have locations in Columbus(OH), Dublin (OH), Cleveland (OH), Cincinnati (OH), and Indianapolis (IN) with new locations coming to Charlotte (NC) and Nashville (TN) this summer. For more information, check us out at 16-bitbar.com, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@16bitbar)
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By: Dennis Burkett