The arcade bar isn’t a new concept. Old-school video games and a healthy selection of craft beer is an instant recipe for dudegasm. Williamsburg, Brooklyn, opened the iconic Barcade in 2004 and Portland, Ore., debuted Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade in 2003, which was the inspiration behind Boise’s soon-to-open rendition: Spacebar Arcade.
“It was surprising to us that nobody had done it yet in downtown. We feel lucky to be the ones to go this route,” said Spacebar’s Trent McNair.
McNair and partners David Lentz, Teresa Hill, Dwayne Hill and Cindy Limber will open the beer-and-wine-only bar in the subterranean space at 200 N. Capitol Blvd., which formerly housed Voodoo Lounge and Catacomb.
“For older people, there’s obviously an element of nostalgia,” said McNair, when asked about the resurgent interest in vintage video games. “And then I think the popularity of casual gaming on small devices—phones and iPads, whatnot—brought back an interest in those kind of games, and certainly, there’s emulators and reissues of games on those devices.”
The bar will house 30 coin-operated arcade games and pinball machines, including Tron, Galaga, Asteroids, Centipede, Mortal Kombat, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man and Frogger.
“There’s a Top 100 Games list that’s maintained by BMI Gaming, and anything we got, we wanted to be on that list,” said McNair.
Spacebar Arcade will also feature four to six rotating taps, a few wines and a large selection of canned beers. McNair said there will be drink specials for high scorers, but those are still being ironed out.
“We’ll have DJs on the weekends and perhaps live music, although we don’t have a full stage or anything like that so we’re not going to have bands,” said McNair. “But it is appropriate for certain kinds of electronic music so we’re searching that out right now.”
Currently, Spacebar Arcade plans to open Friday, Aug. 31, but McNair said that might get pushed back a week or so. Visit Spacebar’s Facebook page for further updates.