hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Emporium Arcade Bar now open in Chicago!

4:00 PM on 06.23.2012 // Liz Rugg
  @LizRugg

If you've grown up or lived in the wonderful Midwestern city of Chicago for a while, you understand that there's been a dearth of good videogame-related activities to enjoy in the area. Sure, there's the occasional LAN competition at the yearly comic conventions, and once in a while a game advertisement will appear on a billboard by the El track, but that's about as good as it gets.

Well, good fellows, hold on to your butts, because all of that is about to change. This week, brothers Doug and Danny Marks opened their flagship alcohol and retro game establishment, the Emporium Arcade Bar. I was able to attend their soft opening last Saturday, and it was well worth the year(plus) wait!

Emporium Arcade Bar

Nestled quaintly between Antique Taco and countless furniture stores on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood, Emporium has an unassuming neon sign that hangs in the middle of large, dark windows. Upon entering the bar, however, the atmosphere instantly shifts to one of nostalgic bliss as the bargoer is flooded with the sights and sounds of such arcade classics as Donkey Kong, Dig Dug, Super Mario Bros., Tetris, and many, many more classic arcade games.

The bar has a simultaneously classic and brand-new feeling, with clean wooden floors, tables, chairs, as well as a polished and glimmering brown tin ceiling. The low-key muteness of the interior adds extra oomph to the whirling bright lights and tinkling noises of all of the arcade machines. The machines themselves, while bursting with low-fi glory, have been cleaned and fine-tuned for optimal gaming experiences. There are even little cup-holding rails next to each machine so that you don't have to sacrifice playing time if you want a beer.

Emporium Arcade Bar

Which brings me to the beer list! Emporium is employing a beer standard that's not seen in a lot of bars on Milwaukee Ave. Right now their alcohol menu only consists of American craft beers, and they have a special interest in supporting locally owned Midwestern breweries. This, for those uninitiated in the mystical ways of beer, is pretty awesome.

If you're not into beer though, you can still exchange your cash for gold-colored, specially made tokens for the arcade games! When Emporium had its soft opening (which despite only being announced on the bar's Facebook and Twitter accounts still drew an absolutely packed crowed), people were so excited to play the games. There's something about the full-body experience of standing in front of the arcade version of Super Mario or Mortal Kombat that is undeniably engaging. The game just envelops you into its fold and everything around you begins to fade, until it's just you and the game, and each jump, shot, button press, and joystick smack bring you and the machine more in unison... until you die and it's game over and you have no tokens left.

In which case, you get another beer.

Emporium Arcade Bar

Emporium also doesn't just have common household arcade names like Street Fighter and Asteroids, they also have a few more obscure machines like Smash TV and (personal favorite) Burger Time, as well as a few fun pinball machines like The Machine: Bride of Pin Bot and Michael Jordan Space Jam (Chicago pride, of course). All of these factors add up to a totally unique and refreshing gaming experience in the Windy City that is literally unlike anything we've had access to in the past twenty years.

Part of the greatness about this new destination for every self-respecting gamer in Chicagoland is that the nostalgia factor is through the roof. As an alcohol-serving establishment, Emporium is only 21 and over -- sorry kids! -- but because of that age limit, the only people who will be visiting the bar are going to be people who probably played some of these arcade games at some point in the past.

Emporium Arcade Bar

This aspect of Emporium is so important, because it's the tandem of the pleasure of playing these old games in conjunction with chilling out with some buds over a cold beer, or going on an awesome date with your significant other, that really brings home this double feeling of past good times and present good times, and that's precisely what makes Emporium such a unique and fun place to visit.

Long story short, Emporium Arcade Bar is a totally new and totally fun experience for Chicagoland videogame enthusiasts, and it is about to be your new jam.

For more information about Emporium Arcade Bar -- including a full game list and a full beer list -- check out their website! And stay tuned over the weekend as we debut an interview with the brothers behind Chicago's new gaming hotspot!

Photo Gallery: (12 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys



Liz Rugg, Contributing Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure LizRugg Tips
Liz Rugg is the Community Manager over at Destructoid's sister site; Flixist! She also works full time as a receptionist at an animal hospital in Chicago, IL. She is tough as nails and soft as a ... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

nanashi avatarnanashi
also Fallout Shelter just made me utter this: "I have to get these pregnancies done.." life is trivial in this game!
Mr Knives avatarMr Knives
Let it be known that Metal Gear 2 for MXS has aged horribly and is no fun to play. In the midst of a MGS marathon, looks like I'm skipping ahead to MGS.
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
"Available: 31 August - This game will unlock in approximately 2 hours" HOLY SHIET! [youtube]https://youtu.be/9jK-NcRmVcw[/youtube]
nanashi avatarnanashi
-nudge nudge- hey Sony, discount Ys: I and II Chronicles and Ys: Seven on the PSP :D
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Just out of curiosity, does anybody here still play Mario Kart 8 at all frequently?
Cosmonstropolis avatarCosmonstropolis
Neighbors ended up calling the cops. I hid under a cardboard box. Police officers were perplexed but went back to their patrol routes after a minute or so.
techsupport avatartechsupport
!a new MGS: Ground Zeroes update file auto dl'd and installed..the day prior to MGSV... hmm.. coincidence? OR... coincidence?
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Just got an email from Nintendo saying that my Club Nintendo reward has been shipped and is on its way. Now it's the end of an era. *pours one out for Club Nintendo*
wutangclam avatarwutangclam
I've been thinking of starting up a criticism-minded "game of the month" type podcast. Would anyone be interested in something like that? If you'd wanna be part of it, let me know, I'm generating ideas and looking for contributors
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Playing the most difficult strategy game ever: trying to figure out what order to beat your backlog in.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Transient Ryu stays ripped by riding the rails and throwing other transients off of his rail cars - [IMG]http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b321/Felth/homeless%20ryu.jpg~original[/IMG]
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
I'm so, so sorry everyone. :(
kolten2 avatarkolten2
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJCiF5dBSpweeStTjOqu-uA/videos
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
I'm pretty sure you guys know what game I'll be playing tomorrow. One of THE hottest games of the season. That's right, I'm talking about Lunch Truck Tychoon. Kojima ain't got shit on me, mukkas!
Flegma avatarFlegma
Playing Project Zero 2 on Wii. One should hope PZ5 got more sensible controls - twisting the Wiimote left/right to turn the camera does not make sense.
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
"When you are not playing the game or choose not to join the defense, your FOB will be defended automatically by your Security Team and security devices." Yeah, I think I'll just avoid the FOB functionality in MGS V
Snaveage avatarSnaveage
PSA: If you're picking up Phantom Pain tomorrow, put the kids down for a nap, turn off your phone and tell your partner to pipe down - the opening hour deserves your undivided attention. Enjoy!
extatix avatarextatix
If you like your hentai VNs [url="https://groupees.com/vn3"]cheap.[/url] Or even [url="https://www.indiegala.com/manga"]cheaper[/url].
VeryImportantQuestion avatarVeryImportantQuestion
Just read that SquareEnix have applied some weird mutation of crowdfunding mechanics to the Deus Ex: Mankind Divided preorder. I know the last blog I wrote mentioned how big publishers try to pervert these systems, but to think it's already this far gone.
Cosmonstropolis avatarCosmonstropolis
First in line to grab MGS V tomorrow. Close to my house, so it looks like I can eat and sleep comfortably. No one else seems to be waiting at my mailbox. Neighbors are getting suspicious.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -