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At The Institute of Manhood, we LOVE our throwback video games. Last year brought vintage gaming back to mainstream culture in a big way. 8-Bit and pixels were a popular design aesthetic. Think back to the days of Sega Genesis and SNES and you start to get the idea. It snuck back into pop culture and we fondly remembered those long hours chasing mushrooms and trying to save the princess. People were digging in their parents’ attics to find old hardware.

There was another movement growing right alongside the resurgence of old video games. A rare breed, some kind of interesting hybridization of Arcade and Bar, began popping up in cities all over. The walls lined with sewer action of TMNT, and the finishing moves of Scorpion in Mortal Kombat, each one a wooden time capsule from the past. From fun fair food offerings of corn dogs and fried Oreos to Jenga and Magic 8 Balls, they offer a delightful quirkiness.

This is sure to be the hipster interpretation of Dave and Busters, minus the awful Vegas-esque style décor and overcooked chicken tenders. Those were fun after the little minions left for their ten o’clock curfew. Below are our top 5 favorite “Bar Arcades” from coast to coast. So pull up a seat, play some Battletoads, and order another Moscow Mule.

Our favorite Bar + Arcades

Barcade – NYC

Ground Control – Portland, OR

EightyTwo – Los Angeles

Joystick – Atlanta, GA

Atlas Arcade – Washington, DC

Get lost in a whirling trance of nostalgia, but make sure you bring a fat stack of quarters or some crisp ones for that finicky coin machine. While we’ve grown quite accustomed to our at home entertainment and gaming consoles, there’s something really special about getting out and enjoying those wooden cabinet games with friends. Time to back up that smack you’ve been talking.

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