16-Bit Bar+Arcade Expanding to Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati
Troy Allen is opening opening arcades like it never went out of style in the late eighties. His wildly popular 16-Bit Bar+Arcade launched in Columbus in 2013, Cleveland in 2014, and today he announced that it’s coming to Cincinnati in 2015.
“We’ve been looking at the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood for probably a year now to be honest,” says Allen. “The Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) actually reached out when we first opened in Columbus, but we weren’t ready for it back then.”
Allen says that the paperwork has been signed as of today, and they’re moving full steam ahead with a First Quarter 2015 opening timeframe. The new 16-Bit location will be housed in a retail space in Mercer Commons, a block from Vine Street and not far from the new HOMAGE store. The Cincinnati location will be the largest 16-Bit to date at 4,300 square feet, nearly twice the size of the original 2,500 square foot bar in Columbus.
“There will be the same amount of arcade games, just a bit more room,” explains Allen. “We will be adding something new though in the form of our ‘Console Library’, where a whole wall of console games ranging from Atari 2600 to Nintendo 64 will be available to play.”
Allen admitted that the first expansion to Cleveland was nerve-wracking, but that it has performed well since opening.
“It’s been outperforming Columbus every night since it opened except for one night,” he says. “And business in Columbus hasn’t dropped off at all. In fact, August was the largest month we’ve ever had. We’re really surprised at how well the concept has done.”
Some of the success of 16-Bit is due to the regular rotation of vintage arcade games that keep the experience different each visit. But next week Allen is planning to break the mold in a new way with the addition of a brand new Street Fighter IV cabinet imported from Japan.
“I wasn’t going to do it at first because it goes against retro vibe,” he admits. “But I got to see one in person… and it’s ridiculous how cool it is. The hardcore fans who play in tournaments are going to literally flip out.”
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