The arcade bar trend gained a one-up with the debut of Versus, a retro-inspired spot for games and grub that opened in Downtown Crossing in October. The 3,000-square-foot space boasts attractions at every turn, with consoles like Xbox and Nintendo Switch set up for rounds of FIFA 19 and Mario Kart, as well as dining tables equipped with favorite board games such as Battleship and Rock’em Sock’em Robots. Situated at opposite ends of the bar, one gaming room is outfitted with nostalgia-inducing classics like Donkey Kong and Ms. Pac Man, while the other features interactive games such as Skee-Ball and air hockey. And even if you lose, you’re still winning, because patrons can enjoy all of the nearly 40 games for a flat $5 charge.
With capacity for 241 people, Versus’ vibrant interior is adorned with vintage Star Wars figurines and custom murals of other iconic characters by local artist Dirty Dek—providing an imaginative backdrop for guests to fuel up on fun comfort fare, such as Pac-Man pizzas and Flamin’ Hot onion rings with a lime mayo, and sip on libations like the Joystick Julep that can be enjoyed in “single-player” or “multi-player” portions to cap off a well-played evening.
Level-up your weekend game with these bar arcades in Boston and beyond.
Where to find a hidden gem
Speakeasy-style A4cade is tucked inside Roxy’s Cambridge location behind an unassuming door, leading to a nerdy paradise filled with games, creative cocktails and gooey grilled cheese.
292 Mass. Ave., Cambridge (617-714-3960) a4cade.com
Where to kick it old-school
Salem’s Bit Bar serves vintage vibes with carefully restored classic games—such as Street Fighter II—featuring their original hardware and cathode-ray tube screens.
50 St. Peter St., Salem (978-594-4838) bit.bar
Where to go big
Lucky Strike Social boasts three floors of entertainment, including an arcade featuring 150 games and a prize room.
145 Ipswich St., Boston (617-437-0300) jilliansboston.com
Where to take a date
Somerville’s Brass Union has a cozy ambiance and upscale eats to enjoy after a round of Pac Man
70 Union Square, Somerville (617-623-9211) brassunion.com