By Corey Pace
Type of Restaurant: Pub Fare
How was the service: Mediocre
Price point: 4 out of 5 hands
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 hands
If you are a fan of the 80s and 90s arcade games and enjoy craft beers, The Barcade is the spot for you. Squeezed between some run-down buildings in the hip Fishtown area of Philadelphia sits the Barcade. The spot isn’t very eye-catching from outside and sort of blends into the natural grunginess of Philadelphia, but on the inside is a decently sized venue, with a few small seating areas in the front and back and a very long bar area. Every other area is consumed by arcade games, back to back and wall to wall.
The game selections are exquisite with a very large amount of 80s classics such as Donkey Kong, Qbert, Pac Man, Burger Time, Rampage, Tetris and many others. There are also a lot of 90s arcade standards, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, X-Men, Street Fighter, and NBA Jam. The spot also has a lot of cult classics games as well, such as Marvel Vs. Capcom and a Neo Geo 5 in 1 cabinet. There are also a few random cabinets seldom seen at arcades such as Moonwalker, Crazy Taxi, and the Alien III arcade game. They only had 3 or 4 pinball games when I went, but get major points for having the Johnny Mnemonic pinball game which I have never seen in person. Also, the arcade games all take quarters, which is totally old school and I love it, but you can’t buy more quarters at the bar, so it’s super important to BRING CASH.
Somethings I think the Barcade can improve on was its overall aesthetic. The bar looks like every other grungy low lit Fishtown bar I have ever walked into, with neon beer signs, punk rock music playing, and posters for local shows taped everywhere. I think it’s kinda odd to be a nostalgic arcade venue and not have video game decor on the walls or behind the bar. There was also no video game themed drinks or menu items, which I thought was a big missed opportunity. And I know not everyone in the world is a huge fan of video game music like myself, but I think it would have just added to the overall aesthetic of the bar. Some video game music is truly iconic and undeniably catchy, it would have fit right into the setting and been strongly welcomed over the predictable grunge rock fair.
Overall I love The Barcade. I feel like it’s a place that fits more of my interests and I can see myself going there more than other places and will definitely be going back again soon.