The blossoming stretch of South Fourth Street in Downtown Columbus will be gaining another new independent business this summer as the 16-Bit Bar+Arcade opens its doors to customers. This new nightlife venture will feature several dozen classic arcade cabinets and a 80s-nostalgia themed cocktail and craft beer bar menu.
“I discovered the retro bar-arcade concept in Chicago last year and have found a couple more around country,” says 16-Bit’s owner Troy Allen. “I look at a lot of businesses when traveling and wonder if they’re viable for Columbus, and I couldn’t get this concept out of my head.”
Allen said that he began researching the business model and searched for spaces in The Short North, Brewery District and Grandview Heights before deciding upon the Downtown space at 254 South Fourth Street next to Dirty Frank’s.
“I used to live in the Brewery District and I’ve been watching Downtown come to life again,” says Allen. “The idea of opening another business Downtown is really what attracted me to pursuing this.”
Allen’s background is in marketing and design, and as the founder of ELEVATE thinking, a creative firm located in The Arena District, he knows a thing or two about operating and growing a new business.
The 16-Bit Bar+Arcade is described as being slightly more upscale than a traditional arcade. Roughly 45 original arcade cabinets have been purchased, and between 35 and 40 will be available for play at any given time, with new games rotating in and out of play on a regular basis. All games will be set to “free play”, so you’re able to spend your spare quarters on drinks at the bar instead.
“The concept is nostalgia-driven and spans multiple audiences,” says Allen. “There are people like myself in their late 30s or early 40s that grew up in that era as well as a younger tech-community demographic that loves old school technology.”
The 16-Bit Bar+Arcade will not serve food, but plans to collaborate both with neighboring restaurants as well as food trucks to offer different types of options on different nights of the week. Additional theme nights will revolve around video game competitions featuring popular older games such as Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam.
Additional games in the initial roster include Galaga, Space Invaders, Rampage, Pac Man, Ms. Pac Man, Mario Bros, Frogger, Donkey Kong, Dig Dug, Centipede, BurgerTime, Asteroids, Cruisin’ USA, The Simpsons, X-Men, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and more.
The 16-bit Bar+Arcade is scheduled to open on Friday, July 5th.
More information can be found online at www.facebook.com/16BitBar.