After six finals, hours of studying, countless cups of coffee, early mornings, and sleepless nights, we finally got our quarter break. I enjoy staying in Chicago over the break, although many of my classmates go home. I find it relaxing to be in the RC and to have the chance to get out into the city without having to balance the demands of school. Over this quarter break, I had the chance to check out Emporium Arcade Bar in Wicker Park with a group of friends.
This bar is known for its drink specials, but moreso for its atmosphere. Emporium has over 100 arcade games from the 80’s and 90’s. This doesn’t include all the other table games they have, such as pool and air hockey. The great thing is that 1 dollar gets you 4 tokens, and 1 token lets you play any game in the bar.
The one thing I loved about Emporium was its nostalgic effect. If you looked around, you could see grown men making fools of themselves over games of Mortal Kombat II, Galaga, or NBA Jam. Walking into this place truly was a “blast from the past.”
Having multiple locations and various events, the the owners have marketed this bar very well. Its originality is what attracts a crowd. For example, earlier this week, Emporium advertised that they were hosting NFA: A Melee Tournament at the Wicker Park location and an APA Pool league tournament at the Logan Square location. These are the kinds of events that separate Emporium Arcade Bar from the other bars in Chicago.
This might be exclusive to the Wicker Park location, but they had more pinball machines compared to other arcade games. The themes of the pinball machines ranged from Star Wars to Game of Thrones and everything in between. I spent the majority of my night on Game of Thrones; eventually, I made my way onto the high score list with the help of a classmate!
If you are trying to escape from the usual bar scene, Emporium is the place to go. Its unique atmosphere and original ideas make it quite appealing. The prices are reasonable throughout the establishment for both drinks and games. There is always some sort of special going on throughout the week. So next time there’s an extended break or even a long weekend, keep Emporium Arcade Bar in mind!