Barcade in Brooklyn
|Industry||Bar, restaurant, and classic arcade games|
|Founded||2004 in Brooklyn, NY|
The original Barcade opened in 2004 in a former metal shop at 388 Union Avenue in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn and won immediate acclaim for its unique combination of vintage arcade games and rare American craft beers. The company is owned and operated by four long-time friends, brothers Kevin Beard and Scott Beard, Pete Langway and Paul Kermizian, who is also the director of the 2004 documentary film American Beer about the American craft beer industry. Twenty-five beers are available on draft and cask at each location and are chosen exclusively from American craft breweries. The selection leans towards locals from the northeast including Brooklyn Brewery, Sixpoint Brewery, Cape Ann Brewing, Dogfish Head, Victory Brewing, Climax Brewing, River Horse Brewing Company, and Captain Lawrence Brewing. Some examples of the arcade games originally featured at Barcade in Brooklyn are Tapper, Q*bert, Donkey Kong, Tetris, Robotron: 2084, Centipede, Super Mario Bros., 1943, Berzerk, Frogger, Rampage, Tetris and Star Wars.
In 2010, it was announced that two other Barcade locations would be opened by the owners, the first in downtown Jersey City, New Jersey, and the second in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Jersey City location opened on April 22, 2011. The Philadelphia location opened on October 10, 2011. In December 2012, it was reported that Barcade was expanding again, with a location in Manhattan planned for 2013, although that location was delayed and did not open until June 2014. A second Manhattan location was announced in spring 2014, at 6 St. Mark's Place, and opened in October of that year. The building had a long and varied history, most recently having housed Kim's Video and Music and before that the New St. Marks Baths. This one was different than the other Barcade locations, with a focus on classic fighters and games from the 1990s. In June 2015, a location was announced in New Haven, Connecticut and it opened the following spring. In 2016 a location was announced for downtown Newark, New Jersey with plans to open in early 2017.
Many world record holders and world-class gamers can be found at the Brooklyn location. There is a high score board on display and many of the names on it are well known world record holders. Plastic surgeon and Barcade regular Hank Chien set the world record in Donkey Kong with a score of 1,061,700 in March 2010. Chien can often be found at Barcade, practicing his skills on the Donkey Kong machine, wearing his operating scrubs. Thirty-eight-year-old George Leutz set the world record on Q*bert in February 2013 with a score of 37,163,080 after spending years practicing on the machine in Brooklyn's Barcade. Joshua Lombay set the world record for the 1984 Midway game Timber in June 2013 with a score of 9,767,550 after having discovered the game and playing for the first time at Barcade in Brooklyn.
Barcade first filed for a federal trademark of its name for use in bars and restaurants on July 20, 2007, and the mark quickly became well known, even in markets outside of where Barcade operated.
By 2012, the success of the Barcade chain had inspired other similarly themed bar and arcade combination businesses to open in other cities in the U.S., with many of these places citing the original Barcade location as their inspiration. New arcade bars directly inspired by Barcade opened in Las Vegas, Denver, Kentucky, California, Maine, Iowa, Vermont and Oregon. Two opened in Chicago in one year, one of them dubbing itself a "Beercade" and the other, called Emporium, being opened by a former Barcade employee. Very similar to Barcade, Emporium "follows that well-oiled model almost identically, serving up about three dozen classic arcade coin-ops plus numerous beers on tap." Soon, even regular corner bars started to add vintage arcade games in an attempt to cash in on the trend, and Details Magazine named arcade bars as one of the hot cocktail trends to watch in 2015.
A few of this new wave of bar and arcade businesses attempted to use the Barcade name, causing confusion as to who was operating these locations, but Barcade successfully defended its trademark in these instances. Other new arcade bars launched with similar names, figuring out ways to not infringe on the trademark. In addition to the "Beercade" in Chicago, a San Francisco company launched as "Brewcade" in 2014. The press and industry looked for other names to call these arcade bar hybrids, with the DNA Association branding them "social-tainment" and also referring to them as "game bars". Most began referring to them as "arcade bars", and Barcade is typically credited with having been the first "arcade bar".
A different type of trademark dispute occurred in July, 2016 when the Scottish Brewery Wellpark, makers of Tennent's Lager, launched a summer "Barcade" promotion involving custom arcade cabinets. The brewery renamed the promotion Tennent's Arcade upon learning of the Barcade mark.
- In 2008, Barcade was named one of the best bars in America by Esquire magazine.
- In February 2013, the Brooklyn Barcade was named the best bar in New York City by social media site Foursquare.
- In 2016, the Jersey City Barcade location was named the most popular bar in New Jersey by social media site Foursquare.
Barcade gained publicity by operating on 100% wind power which the company purchases through green energy providers. The Brooklyn location obtains its power from wind-generated turbines located in upstate New York, the New Jersey and Philadelphia locations from a combination of wind generated turbines in New York and Pennsylvania.
Barcade has collaborated with several American craft breweries to brew exclusive beers that are only available at Barcade locations. These beers are brewed in small quantities and are only available for a limited time. In 2013, Barcade collaborated with The Harpoon Brewery on Sriracha Blonde, a blonde ale brewed with Sriracha hot sauce  and also with Victory Brewing on Fall Bockwards, a 7.5% strong bock. Sixpoint Brewery brewed a two-year-long series of exclusive beers called "The Barcade Beer Project". The beers were re-releases of Sixpoint beers that were brewed in 2004 and 2005 but had since been retired. The series included highly regarded beers such as Black Soul Porter and Bolshoi Imperial Stout. Barcade later collaborated with Captain Lawrence Brewing Company for Black and White IPA, Cape Ann Brewing for Pepper II, a Saison brewed with fresh peppercorns, Greenport Harbor Brewing for Goth Logger, a German style Schwarzbier brewed with cocoa nibs, and Smuttynose Brewing Company for Coily, a saison brewed with Italian plums, vanilla and cinnamon. In late 2016, Barcade and Shmaltz Brewing Company collaborated on Pastrami Pils, a pilsner style lager meant to evoke the flavors of a pastrami sandwich. In 2017, Sly Fox Brewery and Barcade collaborated on Chest Bockwell, a dunkel bock brewed with chestnut flour.
Barcade hosts many special events including frequent "beer nights" in which beer from a specific brewery is featured on draft and cask and the owner or brewer of the brewery appears to answer questions and meet customers.
From 2005 to 2007, Barcade hosted an event called "Fünde Razor", an officially-sanctioned fundraising event for Penny Arcade's Child's Play in which they dedicate a special area of the bar to playing the video games Rock Band and Guitar Hero. Proceeds from the event go to the gaming-related charity.
In 2008 an event called "Wii-mbledon" took place, in which televisions and Wii gaming consoles were set up around the bar and for a Wii tennis tournament. This event occurred around the same time as Wimbledon.
In 2013, Barcade held a video game tournament presented in conjunction with the video game high-score-keeping organization Twin Galaxies. The tournament was called "The Williams Manufacturers Challenge" and featured competitive gamers competing in classic Williams video game titles such as Defender, Moon Patrol and Sinistar.
In September 2007, the owners of Barcade opened The Gutter, a bar with eight regulation-size 10-pin bowling lanes. This was the first bowling alley of any kind or size to open in Brooklyn in nearly 50 years.
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