Barcade in Memphis

Posted on April 28, 2015



All of us secretly want to feel like a little kid again. Remember those good times when your parents gave your quarters, and you gleefully pushed them into little slots, watching an Arcade game light up? You aggressively grab the joystick and push buttons, playing the game to win as if your life depended on it. Unfortunately, yes, we are now adults. Are we still allowed to play games? We may not be able to use our parent’s quarters, but we do indeed have the chance.

If you enjoy playing video games and drinking beer, just imagine a place where you can do both. Now imagine that place coming to Memphis in April 2015 as Memphis’ very own Barcade.

Through its ingenious combination of two of America’s favorite pastimes, Barcade’s popularity has increased throughout the year. This chain is known for its mixture of both a bar and arcade in one exciting establishment, hence the name. In particular, they focus on classic video games like Bubble Bobble, Donkey Kong, and Ms. Pac-Man, all while serving American Craft Beer on tap.

Their popularity has shot up in the last few years, leading to the owners expanding across the country, which has now led the business to our very own Memphis, Tennessee. After occupying several locations in the north, Barcade is finally making its way to the south. The original Barcade opened during 2004, in a small shop in Brooklyn, New York, and has been expanding ever since.

Owners Kevin and Scott Beard had been working in graphic design at the time, and Paul Kermizan had just finished directing a film called “American Beer.” To pass the time between jobs, these three friends spent their evenings drinking American Craft Beer and playing the classic video games their bars are now home to. Thinking of how much fun they were having, the three wondered if other people would love the setup as much as they did.

Due to their love and passion for both of these activities, they decided to open up a local bar in their neighborhood in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. After quitting their day jobs, they maxed out their credit cards, and threw their hearts and souls into their beloved Barcade, and it was well worth the risk.

In order to keep the original look of the warehouse and garage, the friends did most of the construction themselves. And the outcome was a unique bar scene with the possibility for friendly video game competition. It is a peculiar and exciting environment, one where adults can revisit their inner child while still doing something “adult.”

By the time 2007 rolled around, the friends had trademarked the name Barcade, and continued to expand to two more locations in Jersey City and Philadelphia.

Finally, in 2014, Barcade and Co. opened up their two most recent locations in Manhattan. Lucky for us, the sixth edition to the Barcade industry is set to open in Memphis in April.

So let your inner child mix with your favorite adult activity, and come on out and support the opening of the first southern Barcade here in Memphis!

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