Level One Bar + Arcade Coming Soon to Crosswoods
The wave of popularity for arcades continues to surge as another one joins the ranks here in Columbus. Level One Bar + Arcade is slated to open this summer at Crosswoods on the north side of town.
As a child of the late 70s and early 80s, Level One owner Paul Burkhart is a self-described arcade and pinball fanatic, who wants to bring his fond memories back for all to enjoy.
“Arcade video games were just being introduced during this period and I had the opportunity to become infatuated with Pong, Pacman and the like,” he said. “As a result, I was determined when I got older and had a ‘real job’ to obtain my own pinball tables.”
Roughly 20 years ago, Burkhart made that a reality when he purchased his first pinball machine (Gold Strike) and the obsession began. After a couple of shopping sprees through arcade auctions, newsgroups and eBay, he ended up with over 90 more pinball machines in his home collection. He managed to pick up around 20 arcade cabinets as well.
“Around 15 years ago, my wife and I began hosting annual Halloween parties in our basement which had nearly 50 fully operational pinball machines and all of our arcade video machines on free play,” said Burkhart. “We would serve Sam Adams beer, which was essentially the beginning of craft beer, and have large party subs and finger food. Very much an early version of what we now know as ‘barcades’.”
The popularity of the parties eventually led to researching the barcade business model, though Burkhart noticed that other locals were also working on bringing the concept to market. He felt that multiple arcade bars could work in a city the size of Columbus, especially if locations were spread out a bit.
“Seeing as the concept had already recently opened Downtown, we felt that the entertainment district of Crosswoods made a lot of sense,” he explained. “It is centrally located to the entire northern tier of Columbus as well as accessible to Delaware.”
Burkhart also says that his heavier focus on pinball will be a differentiator for Level One, with a range that spans from vintage 70’s machines to modern releases.
“There is a renaissance of sorts taking place in the pinball world with new games still being developed and boutique manufacturers emerging,” he said. “We will also feature a number of sit down ‘cocktail’ arcade video games that allow people to sit across from each other to play head to head.”
The bar is expected to serve a mix of local, regional and craft beers on a 24-tap system, in addition to a speciality cocktail menu. Food service will be minimal, as Burkhart wants to encourage guests to BYO food from other nearby restaurants and delivery options.
Level One Bar + Arcade is expected to open by the end of June.
For more information, visit www.level1bar.com.