BY BARB BERGGOETZ
A sign posted above the wooden bar at The Cade reads, “Play like a kid, but act like an adult.” That typifies the mindset of Jeremy Black, who co-owns the new arcade bar with his fiancée, Chelsea Long. Black says he created the bar to give people a place to enjoy a drink while they play arcade, board, and card games—and, essentially, “geek out.”
“I basically built my dream bar,” says Black, 28, son of Mike Black, owner of The Video Saloon upstairs from The Cade at the 217 N. Walnut location. “It’s basically everything I like to do.”
Black says arcade bars are a growing trend nationally. “But there was definitely a niche that wasn’t being touched here,” he says. “It’s a judgement-free space. You’re able to be yourself.”
There are 17 classic fighting, racing, and shooting arcade games that patrons can play for free if they arrive before 6 p.m. After that, the games are still free, but there’s a cover charge: $2 Sunday through Wednesday, $3 on Thursday, and $5 on Friday and Saturday. Customers can also play Nintendo 64, Sega, and Atari games. The bar features craft beer and cocktails.
“We wanted a little bit of everything—old-school games like Asteroids, Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong,” Black says. “But we wanted newer arcade games like NBA Jam, Tapper, and X-Men.”
“We want it to be a place where people come and drink with friends, but the arcade is there for those who like to do something besides sit,” says Long, 25.
Previously, some of The Cade’s space was used by The Vid. Black says he convinced his dad to use the space for an arcade bar after returning from San Diego, where he worked as a bartender, and after learning the business as co-general manager of The Vid with Kristina Black, his stepmom.
He says response has been strong from men and women, from couples, and also from middle-age people. “It’s definitely exceeded my dad’s expectations and it’s as busy as I thought it would be,” Black says. “It gets really packed on Fridays and Saturdays.”