A sensational combination has come to the streets of downtown Fredericton: vintage video games and alcoholic beverages. Eighty Three Arcade Bar opened in December on King Street and boasts several walls of old arcade games (including Asteroids and Pac Man), and even vintage TVs with video games like the original Super Mario Bros. They also have skee ball and pinball, which we’ve tested and must say is quite good.
There’s no cover charge to get in before 9:00 p.m., and most of the bar’s games are free to play. The games that you have to pay for include skee ball, bubble hockey, and pinball. Tokens for these games can be acquired at a machine in the pinball room that takes 5, 10, and 20 dollar bills. The tokens are a dollar each.
Walking into Eighty Three is like walking into a time capsule. The entrance is accented with ceiling-to-floor shelves of VHS tapes on either side; to the right, a room is decorated like a 70s/80s living room, equipped with shag carpet, electronics, and enough old collectibles to make dads across the country green with envy.
The main bar room is where you’ll find the majority of Eighty Three’s games. Above the bar, and also toward the back of the room, two projectors play an eclectic assortment of music videos from the 70s to the 2000s. Is there anything better than destroying your friends at skee ball while Gwen Stefani blares on the soundsystem? I think not.
Before going, I wasn’t sure if the barcade would really be my cup of tea. I’m not one to spend much time or money on video games, but damn, these old games are fun. My personal favourite was called Asteroids, along with a game called Toobin’. In Toobin’, you play as a character inner tubing down a jungle river wearing sick shades and collecting what I think are soda cans. The cans are used as ammunition and can be thrown at your opponents.
The games, unsurprisingly, get more fun after each trip to the bar. The bar boasts a variety of cocktails and other alcoholic beverages. I recommend the Dave Matthews and the Whisky Sour – two dangerously good concoctions.
Good music, good drinks, and good games: Eighty Three Arcade Bar is destined to be everyone’s new favourite spot. My only complaint is that it’s a bit tricky to find, but maybe that’s a part of the charm? In the 80’s there were a lot of underground bars. There’s no sign to indicate where to go from the street or even a sign above the entrance. My friends and I passed the entrance at first, which is on the right side of the building, and it took us a few minutes to figure it out. Once we did, though, we had a blast. I have a feeling that we will be returning in the near future.
Eighty Three Arcade Bar is located at 546 King Street Unit 3 and is open Wednesday-Saturday at 6:00 p.m. and closes at 12:00 a.m. on Wednesdays, 1:00 a.m. on Thursdays, and 2:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Get a group together and pretend the 21st century never happened! See if you can beat my high score on Asteroids under the name SOF – an easy challenge considering I am awful at the game.