So there’s this bar…
Johnny and I were lucky enough to get a special invite to the Columbus blogger party/soft opening of 16-Bit, Ohio’s only barcade. And needless to say, it’s as ah-mazing as it sounds – half bar, half arcade.
The whole place is geared towards a cocktail-loving adult crowd that has a nostalgic enjoyment of old school video games. With nearly 50 games to choose from, it’s hard not to find something that warmly reminds you of the wasted hours of your youth. Johnny was psyched and surprised to find Spy Hunter – and, in his own words, was surprised by how badly he played at first – and I was tickled to find Phoenix, a favorite from my childhood that I’d forgotten until last night.
When we got there, we spent some time at the bar chatting with Jared Langston, the art director who helped design the retro theme that makes 16-Bit feel like your childhood just exploded all over the place. He told us that there’s only a few of these barcade-type spots in the entire country, which makes the Columbus location even more unique.
Owner Troy Allen is particularly excited about 16-Bit because the environment promises to bring together two different generations: the older crowd who grew up with the likes of Frogger and Donkey Kong and the younger crowd who “appreciates the old school technology.”
The bar itself is small, but it works well with the concept: the whole idea, after all, is to drink and play.
There are a few high tops near the front but we particularly enjoyed the little drink stands next to each game, making it easier to enjoy a Ralph Macchio or a Tawny Kitaen while you try to remember how to kick ass at Street Fighter II (it really does make you feel like a kid again to just keep hitting buttons and hoping something awesome happens so you can win).
And speaking of… wow, the drinks! Their cocktail menu is hilariously impressive and with many drinks, they even go the extra mile to make sure that the tasty creations (because, after all, these aren’t your ordinary cocktails by any stretch of the imagination) actually look like their namesake.
The Farrah Fawcett comes to you resembling the beautiful blonde hair you remember from that poster every guy had on his wall and the Molly Ringwald is adorably pretty in pink. The Burt Reynolds – “tasty enough to put some hair on your chest – and maybe even your face!” – is definitely a manly man’s drink and pays a great homage to the Bandit. With that being said, because of Troy’s love for bourbon, 16-Bit also has a great bourbon menu to choose from as well (including Troy’s favorite – and Johnny’s new favorite – Blanton’s).
Other little things we loved were the house rules…
…as well as the chalkboard walls in the bathrooms (of course we were one of the first to leave our mark!).
We’re looking forward to going back and bringing friends, not only because – in case you didn’t pick up on this – 16-Bit is super cool, but because they’ve also got great events planned for different nights of the week, everything from Mortal Kombat tournaments on Mondays to Tiger Beat Thursday (for the ladies, obviously!). You can also look forward to retro movie night on Wayback Wednesdays, which is just another sign that they’re trying to include every element of the past in a way that all patrons can enjoy.
Thanks again for the invite, 16-Bit!
Last night was truly a blast… from the past (corny, I know, but too good to pass up)!