Boxcar Bar and Arcade set to open on Lewis Street in Downtown Greensboro
Once upon a time, there wasn’t a better way to spend an evening than burning up quarters at the local arcade, hanging out with your friends and having a grand time. Somewhere along the way, though, we all had to get jobs and arcades were replaced with Xbox and PlayStations or the games were just forgotten altogether. And another piece of our youth faded away.
Except now, you can get that back. And you’re old enough for beer now, too.
Greensboro’s newest hangout, the Boxcar Bar and Arcade, is expected to open in the next week or so. The target launch date is Jan. 25. Located at 120 W. Lewis Street, this is the place you’ve been waiting for.
Boxcar will offer a huge array of craft beers on tap, one that will rival any place in town, while offering row upon row of video games and other activities. The setting has a modern vibe with exposed ductwork and brick interior walls and outstanding video-game inspired art.
“I came across a bar in Texas a few years back that had an arcade vibe and craft beer on tap,” owner Jerrad Bement said, “and it just worked. I’ve always liked arcade games and I had come from a bar work background.”
He explained it took a couple of years to really build the concept up and get the first location off the ground in Raleigh. As that became a solid success, a second location in Greensboro became a great follow up.
“We’ve got pinball, Skee-Ball, air hockey tables and bubble hockey, along with arcade games, both the classics and modern ones,” Bement continued. “And we are a full-service bar with beer, liquor and wine. We will be focusing on craft beers and bourbons.”
There will also be an emphasis on local and regional craft brewers and distillers, plus some of the bigger name national craft brewing outfits on tap. They will also carry a range of domestic beers in bottles and cans for those who’d like.
Bement said all of the games will work on a token system, with four tokens per dollar put in. “All of our classic arcade games are just one token apiece, but some of the pinball games can be as much as a dollar to play.”
Classic arcade games on tap at this location will include: Asteroids, Donkey Kong, Galaga, NBA Jam, Ms. Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Stargate and others. Pinball aficionados will note that they have The Walking Dead, Ghostbusters Limited Edition, Game of Thrones and the Addams Family (which has been rated as one of the best pinball games in history). The selection is quite extensive and chances are you can find either an old favorite or a new one pretty quickly.
The arcade machines aren’t the multi-game consoles you find in some places, but actual vintage games and completely new additions. “It’s tough to get some of these and we find them any way we can, from E-bay to Craig’s List to people contacting us,” Bement said. “I just flew to St. Louis recently to talk to a guy who was selling an entire arcade. And it takes a lot to make arrangements to get these shipped.”
Luckily, Bement keeps some aces on staff who are experienced in maintaining the machines and keeping everything running well.
Boxcar Bar and Arcade will be hosting game tournaments on a regular basis, mainly as pop-up events, allowing people to compete in air hockey, Skee-Ball, pinball and even console gaming like Mario Kart. Contestants can win prizes like gift cards to Boxcar or local restaurants, T-shirts and other items.
Beyond the beer and games, Boxcar makes a serious commitment to giving back to the community, Bement said. Wednesday evenings are their Drink For A Cause nights and 15 percent of the sales on that day will go to a select local charity.
There’s about 9600 square feet of space in the building, meaning there’s plenty of room for the bar, tables and chairs even with all the games in place. It really has been built as a place to hang out and have a few drinks with friends. There’s a large patio out front and plans are being made to have live music performances out there.
Once open, Boxcar Bar and Arcade will be open seven days a week, 365 days a year, Bement said. Weekdays will be 4 pm until 1 am, and weekends from noon until 2 am as plans are now. They will not be serving food on premises, but food trucks will be on hand and patrons are welcome to order deliveries in.
While the place is a bar, it is still an arcade, and Bement said they are fine with bringing the family down so that Mom and Dad can have a beer and have fun with the kids on the games. Those under 21 are welcome with a parent or guardian on site until 9 pm.