Some of you may have been born slightly too late to remember the days when arcades were a place that you wanted to go almost as badly as you wanted to go to Disney World (those commercials filling the tube television were very convincing). For others, arcades were abundant and many restaurants and bars even contained at least a few machines to challenge your friends at.
With the takeover and steady evolution of console gaming, arcades have been fading away at rapid speeds. Brothers, Danny and Doug Marks, weren’t about to let arcades die off completely though. Danny had managed the Barcade in Brooklyn, NY and decided to take that as inspiration to open a beercade back in his home territory. The Marks are originally from Highland Park, IL, but there was no better place to make their vision a reality than the booming and ever-expansive Wicker Park.
Emporium Arcade Bar Locations & Features
Emporium Wicker Park
In June of 2012, the first Emporium opened its doors at 1366 N. Milwaukee Ave. With 3,000 square feet to work with, they loaded the space with classic, stand-up arcade games from the 80’s and 90’s. With the support of the community behind them, they expanded their vision in June of 2013 by acquiring the neighboring space and effectively doubling the venue to 6,000 square feet. This addition also houses a stage for live music and entertainment. Other than games– you’ll find 2 big TVs, a 20 foot HD movie screen and a bar that houses a healthy list of 28 craft beers and liquors to keep your competitive juices flowing. While they may not serve food, they know that gaming takes refueling– which is precisely why they allow you to bring in whatever food you want! Wicker Park has no shortage of eateries either.
Emporium Logan Square
Just over a year later they expanded once again. The Emporium Logan Square location opened in July of 2014 at 2363 N. Milwaukee Ave. While this location still has a presence of arcade games (originally only pinball), it has also harnessed table games. Pool tables, air hockey and foosball tables commandeer a large portion of the venue towards the back, while arcade games and pinball machines are lining the wall (plus others, like shuffleboard). You’ll find 7 big-screen TVs to catch the games while you’re playing as well. The airy, open building has a sense of energy flowing through it– while the wooden rafters are accented by the graffiti covering the walls– created by local artists.
The bar really shines at this Emporium location. In addition to liquor, there are over 100 bottles and cans of beer to choose from– which makes repeat visits very enjoyable. Unlike the Wicker Park location, the Logan Square arcade bar has a food truck at your service every night of the week. The truck rotates and you can find the schedule here.
Earlier this year, on New Years Day 2016, Emporium Arcade Bar opened yet another set of doors– but not in the city. Their first suburban location opened in Lake County at 275 Parkway Dr #311, Lincolnshire to be more exact. For success in the suburbs, they have expanded their services even greater. In addition to arcade games, pinball and table games– they have 8 big screen TVs, a projector and live DJs. To take it up even another notch, they house their own kitchen that serves up large slices of New York-style pizzas. It’s really the perfect combination when you think about it: games, pizza and beer. Most people have that same combination when they find themselves sunk into their couch with a controller in their hands. Their bar doesn’t suffer either– with 16 beers on tap and a plethora of liquor, you’ll find yourself beyond content.
Emporium Arcade Bar has proven over the years that the want for arcades hasn’t completely extinguished. If anything– they have proven that arcades are in high demand. New bars are opening all the time, but offer the same thing: sit and drink.
Emporium creates an atmosphere that encompasses enjoyment. The next time that your friends and you are looking for an entertaining night out– you’ll be hard pressed to find a better option than Emporium Arcade Bar.
[They also offer to host your private parties!]
Be sure to follow them on social media, as well as their website to stay up to date on specials and events– such as their weekly Foosball Tournament every Sunday at the Logan Square location, as well as pinball and gaming tournaments, free pool and more!
Locations have a 21+ years old requirement.
[Photos taken at Emporium Logan Square by Ross Perkins]
Emporium Arcade Bar
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