Arcades in Arizona
The Best Arcades in AZ
When you think about the stereotypical nerd, what comes to mind? You probably think of a love of superheroes, a dedication to video games, and a fascination with all things related to board games.
With this in mind, a number of locations in Valley are catering to the nostalgia that is at the heart of every self-proclaimed geek. In these places you will be able to scratch your itch for classic board games, like Scrabble, and show your skill on established video games, like Ms. Pac-Man.
The great thing about being a video game and board game loving adult is that you can release your inner gamer while enjoying adult beverages. That is why a number of businesses in our area have combined a bar with drinks and snacks with video games, board games, and comic book memorabilia. The following are 13 arcade bars around Phoenix that will allow you to let your geek flag fly.
Stratum Laser Tag is located right near the Tempe, Mesa, Chandler and Gilbert AZ Border and offers not only an amazing arcade with terrific prices for kids to earn while enjoying the games but also offers the worlds largest laser tag indoor arena right here in the Phoenix Metro Area! Perfect for corporate events, team building, sports teams, adult parties, date nights and kid’s birthday parties.
Arcade enthusiasts and families living in the Mesa, Arizona area will find countless hours of fun at Golfland-Sunspash. Classic games available at the arcade include Donkey Kong, Ms. Pac Man, and Q-Bert. The cost to play games is 25 cents. The facility also provides a miniature golf course and a waterpark for the enjoyment of visitors. The second floor contains additional games but is only available for private events.
Pizza Mart is located in Mesa and is a throw-back pizza parlor. Video-game memorabilia decorate the building and visitors are often intrigued by the Pac-Man memorabilia. More than a dozen vintage arcade games are available. Game selections include Choplifter, Asteroids, and Galaga ’88.
This Mesa business establishment causes visitors to think they have stepped back in time. The retro jukebox plays popular songs from the 1980s and there are working payphone booths in the foyer. The plastic toys given out as prizes for great gameplay adds to the vintage arcade feel of the building. More than 100 classic games are available for play.
This game bar is located in Mesa and its walls are filled with video arcade distractions. There is a bookshelf in the establishment that contains many popular board games. On weekends, a DJ is in the building to set the mood. Gaming stations recreate the feel of games that were once enjoyed on the Sega Genesis and Nintendo Gaming System.
Captain Cutaneum’s Arcade 85
Visitors to this arcade in Gilbert will be treated to a number of old-school video game titles that bring the year 1985 to life again. Games available for play at Castles ‘N’ Coasters include Turbo, Tank, Star Trek, and more. The movie posters and the music that plays in the establishment all work to enhance the 1980s vibe in the establishment. Arcade players can enjoy the gaming action at Captain Cutaneum’s Arcade 85 on Friday and Saturday nights only in the winter months.
Dave & Busters: Three locations exist for this popular chain in the Greater Phoenix area. Each location comes complete with seemingly infinite floor space with games that are both high-tech and high-end. There are bars throughout the establishment for parents and older players who would like to enjoy a drink and prizes awarded for successful gameplay. The bowling alley on the second floor of the establishment is enough to make Dave & Busters a top destination for game lovers.
Tilt Studio Approximately 150 video games are available at this two-story gaming center in Tempe. Some games date back to the 1970s and there is a good mix of games and pinball machines. Tilt Studio is home to racing games, fighting games, and more.
Play ‘n’ Win Arcade: The Play ‘n’ Win Arcade is located within the Ultra-Star Multi-tainment Center in Maricopa and provides a glitzy arcade experience for visitors. The electronic distractions housed in the building include Haunted Manor, Bejeweled, and Go Go Grand Prix. Players can win tickets by doing well at games and can cash these tickets in for a variety of prizes. Other games that have proved addictive at the establishment include Deadstorm Pirates and Super Bikes 2.
1. Thunderbird Lounge
Located in the Wagon Wheel Building, which was constructed in the 1930s, the Thunderbird Lounge is the perfect home for nostalgia and arcade games. If pinball was your game of choice, they have machines there waiting for you. The giant jingo game in the back and games like Ms. Pac-Man, Centipede, Donkey Kong Junior, and a host of classic Nintendo games await you here.
While you play, choose from their large selection of beers, ranging in price from $3-$7. Or enjoy a $3 popcorn or a pizza for between $8 and $10.
Location: 710 W. Montecito Ave. Phoenix. 602-283-4621
Find them on Facebook at: facebook.com/ThunderbirdLoungePHX.
2. The Bonus Round
For a venue to call itself “The Valleys Only Nerd Bar,” they have to offer something special. Pinball games, rare Japanese versions of games, arcade classics, and board games are just part of what this unique location has to offer. Need more energy to keep gaming? Try the veggie, chicken, or pork gorditas stuffed with salsa, sour cream, Monterey Jack, onions, and peppers for only $6.99.
Location: 24 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix. 602-374-6936
Check them out on Facebook at: facebook.com/BonusRoundPhx.
3. Cobra Arcade Bar
Get ready to indulge your nostalgia by playing games like Mario Brothers, Space Invaders, Frogger, Donkey Kong, pinball, and more. With more than 200 vintage arcade games, a large list of beer and wine, and food trucks, this place is a guaranteed good time.
Location: 801 N. Second St., Phoenix. 602- 595-5873
Check out their website at: cobraarcadebar.com.
4. Linger Longer Lounge
This place offers vinyl records, Skee Ball, Connect Four, and Jenga matches. What more could you ask for? The Linger Longer Lounge has old-school arcade games and electronic darts. Food selections include pizza and margarita combos for $12. The $13 Ziggy Stardust has figs, blue cheese, prosciutto, and arugula. Try the Hells Bells cocktail that includes cilantro, tequila, and Ancho Reyes Verde for only $9.
Location: 6522 N. 16th St., Phoenix. 602-265-0600
Check out their website at: lingerlongeraz.com
5. Rewined Beer and Wine Bar
Do you miss the 80s? Then this is the place for you. Classic 80s board games such as Battleship, Operation, and Upwords await you at this location. Cassette tapes decorate the bar, and floppy disk are coasters. Choose from a selection of over 130 rotating ciders, wines, and beers. Bring your own munchies or snack on a grilled cheese sandwich, pretzel bites, or baklava for between $2 and $5. Ten percent of every draft pint goes to a local school or charity.
Location: 3308 N. 24th St., Phoenix. 602-429-9660
Check them out on Facebook: facebook.com/rewinedphx.
6. The Whining Pig
Are you in the mood for grilled cheese sandwich, or do you want to split a meat and cheese plate with your friends for only $14? If so, don’t miss this location. Competitive Uno rounds, Rock Em Sock Em Robots, beer, wine, and more are what this unique venue offers.
• 10121 E. Bell Road, Scottsdale. 480-361-6890
• 2512 S. Val Vista Drive, Gilbert. 480-696-4004
Visit their website at: thewhiningpig.com.
7. Gypsy Bar
If you are by the Lucky Strike at Cityscape, you will want to give the Gypsy Bar a visit. Guitar Hero, Pac-Man, Connect Four, Jenga, and more are part of the entertainment this venue offers. The smoked shrimp and avocado salad in mango vinaigrette for $13, the tempura chicken tenders for $12, or pork nachos in a flower tortilla bowl for $13 are legendary.
Location: 50 W. Jefferson St, Phoenix. 602-732-5490
Check out their website at: gypsybarphoenix.com.
8. The Little Woody
The big brother of the Linger Longer Lounge offers enjoyment for those who are looking for a booze free night. Table contests including checkers, Rock Em Sock Em Robots, and more are available to all guests. For those looking to enjoy adult beverages, whiskey flights are between $10 and $16. Enjoy truffle mushroom flatbread for $10 and waffle bites topped with cinnamon, mascarpone, and a delicious vanilla bourbon syrup for only $7. The beef and brie panini for $10 will keep you coming back for more.
Location: 4228 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix. 602-955-0339
Check out their website at: littlewoodyaz.com
9. Snakes and Lattes
This is a Canadian-based gaming library. For $5 a day, you can play games like Monopoly, Stoned or Stupid, or Word Slam and Dunk. If you are a fan of poutine, you will find a number of variations, including the Southwest version for $12.95. Enjoy delicious desserts starting at $7.95.
Location: 20 W. Sixth St., Tempe. 480-361-6644
Check out their website at: snakesandlattes.com/location/tempe
10. Electronic Bat Arcade
If you are visiting Central Tempe and you are in the mood for pinball, this is the place for you. Dozens of classic machines are at the ready. Enjoy cold beverages at Yucca’s full bar. Satisfy your urge to munch with plates of tacos, mahi-mahi, carne asada, fried chicken, tofu, and more. Prices range from $2-$4.50.
Location: 25 W. Southern Ave., Tempe. 480-967-4777
Visit their webpage at: electricbatarcade.com
11. The Grid: Games and Growlers
This place has more than 600 video games, including vintage, contemporary, movie inspired, and combat action games. Try not to get overwhelmed by the number of games available, including James Bond 007 and WrestleMania. They offer mac & cheese bites for $10, vegan snacks starting at $7, a juicy burger with a fried egg for $13, popcorn shrimp for $10, and wings for between $9 and $14. Who could ask for anything more?
Check out their website at: thegridmesa.com
Location: 525 S Gilbert Road, Mesa
12. 8-Bit Aleworks
This is the place where craft beer enthusiasts and video game lovers meet. Games like Donkey Kong Junior and Super Mario are played competitively here. Try a flight for $7.50 and enjoy delicious beers with unique names, like Hopsassin’s Creed and Legend of Zymur.
Visit their website at: 8-bitaleworks.com.
Location: 1050 N. Fairway Drive, Suite F-101, Avondale. 623-925-1650
13. Modern Round
This is a location that focuses on visual shooting. Participants can put their shooting skills to the test and engage in live action missions and intriguing game scenarios. Hourly rates go from $10-$45. Enjoy a full menu that ranges from appetizers to desserts. This is an environment that is a bit more upscale than typical arcade bars.
Prices range from $12-$25 for snacks and meals. Options include mahi-mahi tacos, hotdog Wellington, filet mignon tacos, steak and mashed potatoes with vegetables, and more.
Location: 8320 W. Mariners Way, Peoria. 623-388-6900
Visit their website at: modernround.com.
13. Castles ‘N’ Coasters
The vast selection of arcade games in this two-story establishment makes it a must-see entertainment selection for gamers in the Phoenix area. The first floor of Castles ‘N’ Coasters is home to games like Doodle Jump and a Batman driving game. The second floor of the building is reserved for serious retro gaming action and contains games like Arm Wrestling from the 1980s and all four selections in the Mortal Combat series.
Cobra Arcade Bar
Ariel Bracamonte is the co-owner of the Cobra Arcade Bar and he possesses a personal arcade collection of more than 100 titles. The establishment is large enough to house about 40 games so the mix of games available for players changes relatively often. This variety keeps things fresh and customers have responded favorably to the situation.
Popular culture seems to run in cycles. This fact holds true when you take a moment to consider arcades. These hangouts were extremely popular with young people in the 1980s and it was not uncommon for them to spend hours at the local arcade playing Pac Man or Donkey Kong. In the last decade, the popularity of arcade games has steadily increased.
Industry observers are not completely sure what has fueled the renewed passion for vintage video games and the establishments that provide them. Some attribute this increase in popularity to game bars like Eighty Two in Los Angeles and Emporium in Chicago. While others surmise the online availability of retro titles from the internet archive is the cause of the arcade resurgence.
It took a little time for this national trend to make its way to Arizona but the arcade resurgence is here. Establishments like Mesa’s Starfighter and Captain Cutaneum’s Arcade 85 now accommodate arcade lovers for hours and hours at a time. There is also the annual ZapCon competition that arcade players from around the country attend each year at the Mesa Convention Center.
The newfound popularity of vintage arcade games in Arizona has not necessarily had a negative effect on establishments like Dave and Busters that provide newer, state of the art games in a family-friendly environment. Tilt Studio is a Tempe favorite that opened in 2016. Also, game centers that offer a mix of old and new selections like Golfland-Surplus and Castles ‘n’ Coasters continue to be a hit with gamers.
The Phoenix area offers gamers a variety of places to enjoy their favorite arcade games. The following is a list of some of the most popular establishments.