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You don’t have to be a gamer to enjoy The Eleanor. (Image: Kelli Scott)

Game on! 5 arcades in the D.C. area worth a visit

By the end of the month, the District will lose one of its only arcades. After seven years in business, Atlas Arcade (1236 H Street NE) is calling it quits. The bar-arcade was known for being a rather cozy space, but welcomed in the community for its many player-ready pastimes like Super Mario, Pac-Man and Street Fighter.

“I think gone are the days in most of D.C. where smaller business owners can open up places with quirky concepts and kind of give it a go, unfortunately,” said Adam Stein, chef and managing partner for The Eleanor and Bar Elena. “I don’t think you’re going to see too many more mom and pop shops like that in an area like H Street. I mean, there’s a Whole Foods there for god’s sake.”

For gamers interested in venturing out and finding venues with cool, more immersive offerings, we pulled together five alternative options.

Player's Club
1400 14th Street NW

In March 2018, this ‘70s-style basement arcade bar opened in Logan Circle with a myriad of offerings, from pinball to Skee-Ball to 14 old-school arcade games. The location is really only for adults, which is obvious not only from its selection of craft beers, but also its claw machine, which grabs condoms and sex toys. The venue also includes board games like Life and Monopoly.

Augment Arcade
645 Florida Avenue NW

Out of all of the venues on this list, this is the most unique one for sure. Augment Arcade is a virtual reality bar with the latest gaming technologies for music, art, sports and action simulation games. “We wanted to kind of make it something a little bit different, something more for adults, for the realms of their own creativity in a space that’s not Chuck ‘E Cheese," said Lillian Cutts, director of outreach for Augment Arcade.

The Eleanor
100 Florida Avenue NE

You don’t have to be a gamer to enjoy The Eleanor. Since opening in June, this bar and restaurant has offered NoMa quirky cocktails, mini-bowling lanes and Skee-Ball alongside arcade games like Mortal Kombat 3, Battle Royale and Pac-Man. Stein has a dedicated staff of maintenance professionals who ensure that the arcade games are in tip-top shape, so never worry about coming in and having a machine act clunky.

Bar Elena
414 H Street NE

Along with Skee-Ball and pinball machines, Bar Elena also includes old-school arcade games for those who want to just feel like a kid again. On occasion, the bar, which opened in November 2017, also offers game nights, which brings in board games like Jenga and Cards Against Humanity. Expect a cool, no-frills interior with exposed brick walls and comfort food on the menu.

Pizzeria Paradiso
3282 M Street NW

This pizza place offers multiple locations, but it’s the Georgetown site that offers a decked out game room. On a rotating basis, there are pinball machines, shuffleboard, darts and a selection of approximately 10 arcade video games along with Skee-Ball. The restaurant first opened on P Street NW in November 1991 and its Georgetown location was unveiled in December 2002. The game room is pretty recent though, having just opened in late 2017. “For us, we really wanted to create a space where everybody’s inner child can come out as an adult,” said Pizzeria Paradiso's Director of Operations Matt Mcquilkin.