Barcade is an arcade and a bar combined in the artsy Williamsburg Brooklyn section. Barcade reminds you of your youth by way of their classic '80s and '90s retro coin machines. The video game selection are very reminiscent of old school arcades. However, the music, seating, open space, and wide range of drinks sets the bar atmosphere. Some of their video game machines include 1998’s Robo Cop, 1981’s Donkey Kong, 1989’s Final Fight, 1981’s Ms. Pac-Man, and 1989’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. All games are a quarter and don’t worry the bartenders have lots of change for you to keep playing. Beers are around six bucks a pop and the bar is pretty big to chill on. Also, Happy Hour takes place Monday through Friday from open (4pm on weekdays and Noon on weekends) until 8pm. Seating is available, but this place gets crowded on the weekends.
Joonbug met with Barcade’s Co-owner Paul Kermizian to learn more about Barcade and the concept behind it.
What is your position here and how long has Barcade been around?
I am one of the founders/owners. We opened our original Barcade location in 2004 so we are going on our 9th year.
What was the concept behind Barcade and why was Williamsburg the ideal community for it?
My partners and I wanted to combine our interests of American craft beer and classic video games. I had been a collector of classic games and had four in my apartment at the time we were considering opening a bar. The games were popular when I'd have parties and so we thought it might work as a business model and we hadn't seen or heard of anything else like it. We only chose Williamsburg because that was the neighborhood we lived in. We wanted the bar to be within stumbling distance of our homes.
For readers that are unfamiliar with craft beer, explain what it is?
Beer made with superior, higher quality ingredients and from a smaller brewery.
As far as the arcade games are concerned, why were these games selected opposed to any other retro gaming machines?
When we opened in 2004 we chose a lineup of classic games that we thought would be popular and also represent different styles of game play. Over the years the line up has rotated and changed quite a bit. Now we own well over 200 games so we move the games between Barcade locations and always try and bring in new stuff when we can.
How would you describe the aura/ambiance here?
Laid back. The space was a metal shop and a garage before us and we tried to keep that atmosphere as much as we could. We've done the same thing with our other locations, trying to keep some of the character of the space or building.
Do you notice any differences between weekday and weekend occurrences in terms of traffic or visitors?
It's definitely busier on weekends as Williamsburg has become a real destination spot. Come in on a weeknight if you want your pick of games without a wait.
Considering the operation hours, are there parties here or just games and drinks? Basically, are there other activities that take place beside what is already recognizable? (I.e. games and drinks)
We don't really do any other events that aren't centered around craft beer or video games.
Mr. Kermizian, I appreciate your time and thanks for the interview.
No problem, thank you!
Barcade is located at 388 Union Avenue Brooklyn, NY