This past summer, a friend of mine told me about a bar near his apartment in Chicago. This bar, he said, was especially awesome because it was half bar, half arcade. So naturally, when I was planning my 25th birthday party, I thought of Emporium Arcade Bar.
My early experience with Emporium was great. I sent the bar an e-mail (their preferred mode of contact) and asked about hosting a small party there. They were pleased to help me out, and I reserved two tables for 8pm. They also game me the group deal on tokens–$40 worth of tokens for $30.
The bar itself is pretty great. It gets a little crowded and the positioning of the bar makes it a little hard to get from one end of the arcade to the other. Another downside is the positioning of the tables—they’re all up front, near the door, so it got really cold.
Of course, those were really the only issues I had with the place (which weren’t that detrimental, to be honest). The beers were good. I tried the Goose Island Green Line as well as their hard cider (which a friend bought for me, so I didn’t get the name). They focus on craft beers and whisky, but they have a full bar. You can see their beverage selections here.
The games, however, are the best part of the bar by far. They have classic machines, and I was happy to play games all night (to the extent of neglecting my birthday drinking). I earned several high scores (though the scores are obviously reset often), which made me feel like a boss. Despite the fact that the bar became very crowded, it was never much trouble to get to a game. At the most, I only had to wait ten minutes or so for a game I wanted to open up—but there was always something fun and open for me to play while I was waiting for another game.
Their game selection was especially excellent. The bar had all of the essential classics, all in their original condition. Here’s just a taste of what Emporium has to offer (you can find the full list here):
Super Mario Bros.
In short, I would most definitely recommend that you visit Emporium the next time you’re in Chicago (or, if you live near Chicago, visit sometime really soon). It was a great night, I had a great time, and I’m pretty sure that you will, too.