INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — It may officially be 2020, but for the next couple of minutes, we are turning back the decades and partying—and gaming— like it’s 1999 or even 1989!
16-Bit Bar+Arcade got its start in Ohio with locations in Cincinnati, Columbus, Dublin and Cleveland. They opened their Indy location last June on the ground floor of The Whit, at the northeast side of New York and Pennsylvania Street downtown.
It became an instant hit thanks to their pop-culture loving, retro approach to a fun-night out that is sure to take you back to the good old days of playing your favorite arcade games.
Only this time, it’s just for grown-ups.
“We have 40-plus arcade games… all free,” said manager Jordan Sanders. “All the classics like Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, Rampage. We have Nintendo, Super Nintendo set up on emulators, [so] you guys can play those games.”
Sanders calls 16-Bit Bar+Arcade 6,000 square feet of nothing but fun— and it’s not hard to see why.
Whether you grew up playing Atari or you’re a big fan of Duck Hunt or Contra, this place will have you feeling like a kid again.
“They love it,” he noted. “It’s nice to see people walk down memory lane, live that nostalgic feeling.”
Their other games include Jenga, Connect 4, pin ball and skee ball. They even have a huge Lite Brite wall to play around with!
Or just sink in to one of their cozy couches for some intense on-track battles playing Mario Kart.
“Kind of ducked off over there, it’s kind of the ‘my mom’s basement’ kind of feel with the couch, playing all the old school games
The arcade games are free to play, with one small caveat.
“We just encourage you to purchase a beverage– whether it be alcoholic or non-alcoholic,” said Sanders.
Their drink menu is just as exciting as their games. They have 36 craft beers, mocktails and cocktails with major pop-culture flair.
“We put popsicles and candy in our cocktails so you’re like a kid at heart in here: eating candy, playing video games… So I think people really love it,” he said.
Their top-selling cocktail is called the Hulk Hogan, which is topped with a tell-tale red, white and blue Bomb Pop.
Other drink options include their alcohol-infused Slush Puppies and other colorful cocktails like the Lisa Frank, Winnie Cooper, plus some special seasonal cocktails throughout the year– like the “Sandy Claws” which was a big hit during the holiday season.
Looking for some classic cocktails? They have those too— just known by different names.
“Some of our old school cocktails like our Burt Reynolds– which is an Old Fashioned– or Bill Nye, which is essentially a Manhattan,” Sanders explained.
The nostalgia doesn’t stop when it comes to the flat screen TVs inside, where you can watch some of your favorite throwback music videos on MTV Classic.
“I think a Duran Duran music video is playing right now… We have ‘Friends’ on as well,” he said.
And speaking of friends, you can even bring your furry ones here because 16-Bit is dog-friendly!
Four Things You Need to Know About 16-Bit Bar + Arcade:
- 16-Bit Bar+Arcade got its start with locations in Ohio before bringing their pop-culture loving, retro arcade vibe to Indianapolis in June of 2019. You’ll find their Indy location at 110 East New York Street downtown. They also have new locations opening in Nashville, TN, and Charlotte, NC.
- With the exception of pinball—which is 50 cents—all their games are free, but that doesn’t stop people from putting in quarters. So 16-Bit puts those to good use through their “Quarters for a Cause” initiative, where they collect those coins and donate the proceeds each month to a service organization.
- When the weather heats up, the fun will also head outside on their massive wrap-around patio (complete with fire pits) and you can always enjoy food from their rotating food trucks on weekends and play games like Jenga and Connect 4.
- They also say to keep up with their social media for news about their other concept– called “Pins Mechanical”—which will be going in as part of the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant Project at the other end of Mass Ave.
For more information about 16-Bit Bar+Arcade, check out their website by clicking here. To see more photos and reviews by local Yelpers, check out their Yelp profile. You can also connect with them on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
While downtown, check out these other popular local businesses within walking distance of 16-Bit Bar+Arcade: