September 27, 2013
This place is almost too good to be true. Yep, I just said that, because every once in a while a place you visit blows your mind because it's so darn cool.
Although I grew up in the era of Atari Intellivision game consoles and Frogger, Jungle Jim, Centipede, Millipede, Asteroids and Dungeons & Dragons, you wouldn't know it by my present-day skills. My favorite arcade games back in the 80s and 90s were Pac-Man, Galaga and Centipede (I still have my green Pac-Man T-shirt from 1984 and it came in handy to wear to my friend's backward bar mitzvah birthday party a few years back.) Anyway, fast forward more than 20 years and I'm now pretty inept at playing those games. I was embarrassed and surprised at how hard it was to use a big roll ball to move my aircraft and push down the red fire button as I played Centipede. (I did manage to get to the second level during my first game, so maybe I'm underestimating my skill set some.) I did feel as if it were 1984 for a few moments until I looked around to make sure I hadn't stepped into some odd wormhole and time traveled, but a quick scan and I was surrounded by a bunch of male hipsters in plaid shirts and dark denim drinking beers I'd never heard of-it was 2013 and I was relieved. If you played arcade games during the '80s, be prepared for flashbacks because this place will have that effect on you. The vintage arcade games lining the walls include Donkey Kong Jr., Centipede, Ms. Pacman/Galaga, Double Dragon, Space Invaders and Asteroids. There are quite a few I'd never seen before, a couple of pinball machines and an interesting looking bowling game. Pretty much all of the arcade games are free, but a few such as the pinball games and bowling game are not. The place has a failry long list of beers and specials. There are large tables with barstools throughout so you can take a break to enjoy a drink between games or just drink and chat while you watch your friend type their initials in for being in the top 5 scorers list. 16-Bit has daily drink specials and $2 Pabst Blue Ribbons every day. Craft and draft beers are $6 with $2 off for happy hour weekdays from 4-7 p.m.; bottles and cans are $5 and basic brews such as Bud Light and Miller Lite are $3. They also sell some funny T-shirts and coasters. Ladies be warned, the ratio of guys to girls during my visit was about 20 to 1.
The barcade is located at Fourth and Cherry streets downtown near the El Camino Inn. There's quite a few metered parking spots on Cherry Street, but bring your quarters for those, too, as they're not the upgraded ones that take credit cards.
To find out if the barcade has your favorite game or Ohio-brewed beer, check out their website at http://16-bitbar.com/ and travel back to the future.