Arcades have been something I used to enjoy when I was a kid. The sounds of those machine in a dark lit room while seeking out new opponents and facing new challenges such as trying to see just how high my name can get while trying to beat whoever “TJD” was something I looked forward to every weekend. However, in the early 2000s, arcades started to die out as online play with home video game consoles took over, making it easier and more convenient for gamers to play each other from all across the world giving players a lot more people to play against and even be able to communicate. Arcades became a thing of the past and even the ones that stuck around seemed like a ghost town.
As gamers continued to play online there was still a desire for a lot of people to want to play each other face-to-face. Trash talking your opponent with them standing right next to you is something that no online game can emulate. Today, arcades are being revived in the form of an arcade bar or known to most as a “barcade” mixing the enjoyment of a cocktail or a drink with some of your favorite 80s and 90s games. I was invited by one of Indy’s newest arcade bars, One Up, in the center of Broad Ripple, an area vastly known for its nightlife scene, to come and check it out and get a sample of what to expect one the bar is fully open. One Up is the creation of owners Michael Martinez and Matthew Smith, both of which I had the opportunity to speak with. We sat at the bar which features a bar top full of actual pages of various Marvel and DC Comics comic books and discussed with them their opening of the bar as well as their reason for wanting to open Indianapolis second arcade bar.
“We grew up with a passion for games” Martinez stated “We wanted to open up a bar that gives back to the community something from our childhood that we can all enjoy” The co-owners were quick to point out that this bar is not going to be like any other bar in the area. They want to be a place known for not just being about making money, but a place known for giving back to the community. “Broad Ripple was our first and only choice” said Smith when asked about if they had any other places in mind for a location. “We felt that Broad Ripple was the perfect spot for a new arcade bar to be considering how much traffic is here” and they are not wrong. Broad Ripple is well known for being a hot spot in Indianapolis featuring a lot of food and drink locations as well as a lot of other local shops. “The community here is great and other shops and restaurants have been very welcoming” Smtih said of the area.
Matthew gave me a tour of the bar, which features over 20 arcade machines all set to free play. You’ll find classics such as Galaga, Donkey Kong and Dig Dug to more 90s favorites such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Simpsons. One thing I really love about this bar is just how spacious it is. “Our goal was to not make our patrons feel crowded. We have a limit of how many people can be in here at once and we don’t ever want there to be that many people in here at once because we want people to truly enjoy our place” Smith stated when telling me about just how different this place will be compared to other bars in the area. Another aspect of the bar is not just the games, but the art surrounding the walls. “We worked with lots of local artists in the area” Martinez said when I saw the art of two characters, Scorpion and Sub-Zero from the game Mortal Kombat, featured on the wall across from the entrance which also lights up with neon colors.
One Up also features eight different cocktails that are all video game themed and there will also be seasonal cocktails and drinks available throughout the year. One Up has partnered with local breweries such as the famous Sun King Brewery in Indianapolis as well as several others. The bar has plenty of seats as well as even streaming events on Twitch on TV’s set throughout the location. One thing that I also love is that there is even an air hockey table that is also set to free play. “We want to provide a place that people can come in and enjoy the arcade games they grew up with and not be so worried about feeling like they have to spend a minimum just to play them”
One Up definitely offers a great mix of some old classics for everyone to enjoy. The bar will only be open until 1AM during the week. The grand opening is tonight from 8PM-1AM in Broad Ripple at 723 Broad Ripple Avenue. There will never be a cover charge and also there will be a selection of food available as well. I highly recommend checking this place out and giving them your support if you are ever in or around the Indianapolis area as this is one location that if you’re a fan of arcades, simply cannot miss.