Where to Find the Coolest Arcade Bars in West Michigan
I am by no means a pinball wizard, but one of my favorite ways to kill time is to throw a couple quarters in an arcade game or pinball machine and try to get my name on the leaderboard- even better if I can sip a few cocktails between flicking those flippers!
To see a few games inside a local dive bar is not uncommon, but a growing trend is now creating bars specifically for the purpose of gaming. Arcade bars typically feature pinball machines and arcade games, but have also grown to include tabletop and board games too. It's a fun new spin on game night!
Now that I've returned to the Mitten, I was curious to know if there were any good arcade bars in the area. Turns out, there are! And more than I expected. I can't wait make my way around the area to explore each and everyone of these local establishments. Which is your favorite West Michigan-area arcade bar?
One Well Brewing- Kalamazoo
If you love craft brews and you love pinball, this is the place for you! Not only does One Well feature over 50 pinball machines, they've also got 20 arcade machines, 3 pool tables, air hockey, and foosball. They're also a family-friendly establishment so you can feel safe bringing the kids along for food and games. They recently acquired Guitar Hero too- count me in!
Self-branded as "Kalamazoo's only video game bar" LFG stands for liquor, food, and games. That's all they had to say! Not only does LFG have classic arcade games like Galaga, they've also got a variety of classic gaming consoles like the Nintendo 64, Game Cube, and Sega Genesis Flashback. If video games aren't your style there are also various board games and cards to choose from.
4 One 2 Distillery- Wayland
Though they make almost no mention of it on any of their official platforms, the internet tells me the upper level of this distillery is dedicated to pinball and arcade games while the lower level has delicious eats.
The Pyramid Scheme- Grand Rapids
This arcade bar/live music venue is a pinball lover's dream! Their current pinball lineup of 24 machines is listed on their website and they have an open league that meets twice a month that is open to all ages and skill levels. I'll admit, it's usually a concert that gets me down to the Pyramid Scheme but I'd be lying if I didn't say I bring a couple quarters with me to pass the time before showtime.
House Rules- Grand Rapids
One of the newest arcade bars on the scene, House Rules specializes in tabletop games, like Magic the Gathering and Pokemon, in addition to traditional board games. Their bar and lounge features traditional offerings beer, cocktail, and ciders but if that's not your style they also have a non-alcohlic beverage selection of energy drinks, pop, and CBD water. If you especially enjoy one of the games you play while visiting House Rules, you can take it home with you as there is also a game store inside.
Honorable mention: Stella's Lounge- Grand Rapids
The whiskey bar located downtown is known for their burgers and classic arcade games. However, it appears they've replaced their backroom games with tables no doubt due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I haven't been there recently to see for myself, but I hope they plan to bring back Galaga, Tetris, and Mortal Kombat soon-- if they haven't already.