Tetris, Streetfighter, Mario Kart, oh my! If those arcade favorites ring bells in your memory, the Ready Player One arcade is where you can find them. Housing roughly 40 gaming machines – 30 arcade and 10 pinball – the owners, Wael Gharbie and Mohamed Badaoui, have blended their love of gaming with their love for the city of Detroit.
Recently opening in the historic Globe Tobacco Building near Greektown, the city’s second arcade of its kind promises to “bring the child out of an adult,” says General Manager Nick Silas.
With its exposed brick walls and ceiling beams, this 3,600-square-foot cozy “barcade” makes a great location for dates, birthday parties or a spin on the typical night out.
Besides the old-school beauty of vintage arcade games, patrons can also enjoy artwork from local Detroit artists, including depictions of Back to the Future’s Marty McFly, the Detroit Pistons and Robocop.
Gamers can look forward to arcade classics such as Galaga, Donkey Kong and the Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles. The arcade also features a vintage Nintendo 64 complete with four controllers.
Together with your favorite games from the 1980s and ‘90s, this basement-level arcade operates on a “free-play” system, meaning, as long as patrons are buying food and drinks, they will be supplied with tokens.
While the arcade is categorized as a bar, there is no cover charge and children are welcome until 9:00 p.m. On a wall, the rules of gaming are laid out:
- Don’t’ be a game hog
- Keep your drinks off me (the machines)
- Eat and drink to get free tokens
- Play together, win together
Executive Chef, Jordan Ceresnie, has put together a lineup of game-inspired menu options such as the Super Meat Boy Sliders, featuring house meatloaf, arugula, tomato jam and buttermilk onions on sweet rolls, and Bowser Bites – grilled jalapenos stuffed with pimento cheese, wrapped in bacon and fried in corn dog batter.
Silas helped come up with the cocktail menu, which includes fun concoctions like the Spyro Lemonade, made with Faygo’s Rock N’Rye reduction, lemon juice and Tito’s vodka, and the Crash Bandicoot, which combines New Holland Blue Haven Blueberry Gin with lavender simply syrup and soda water.
The name might sound familiar: Ready Player One is Ernest Cline’s best selling novel, a thriller set in the future about a teenage gamer on a quest for an Easter egg in a virtual reality game that could lead to a fortune. The story is popular with both gamers and sci-fi lovers alike, and inspired the owners to develop this popular hangout spot in the D.
Interestingly, the barcade has spent no money on marketing or advertisements. Through word-of-mouth, visitors are streaming in at a steady pace and making this family-friendly establishment a soon-to-be favorite amongst Detroiters. When the cult classic hits the big screen in spring 2018 thanks to director Steven Spielberg, we’re betting all our tokens you’ll want to spread the word too.
Ready Player One is located at 407 E. Fort St. and is open 5:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. Tuesday – Thursday, 5:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. on Friday, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m. on Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. on Sunday and is closed on Mondays.
For more information and updates, visit their page on Facebook! Have you been to Ready Player One? Let us know what you enjoyed most in the comments below!