After some initial setbacks, Up-Down arcade bar finally opens in the Central West End tonight. The 21-plus bar features more than 60 vintage arcade games and pinball machines, Skee-Ball, a large patio with yard games, around 90 craft beers on tap and pizza by the slice.
As reported by Feast in 2017, the concept fills the space previously occupied by Herbie’s Vintage ’72, and before that, Balaban’s. The concept was established in Des Moines, Iowa, in 2013, with additional locations in Kansas City, Minneapolis and Milwaukee. The ownership consists of Josh Ivey, Rafe Mateer and Sam Summers. General manager Joey Akers oversees the St. Louis location.
“It’s a unique place. In its simplest form, it’s an arcade and bar with very craft-forward beer, a lot of liquor options and pizza by the slice,” Akers says. “But really more than that, it’s nostalgia for the demographic that went to arcades before they went extinct — except now they can drink beer, play games, eat pizza and be social with their friends.”
The approximately 7,500-square-foot complex features two floors of gaming and amusements, three bars, a walk-up food window and patio. Blackline Design+Construction worked on the space, with Red Brick STL as its landlord. From wall to wall, the bar is decked out in ‘80s and ‘90s nostalgia from designs of iconic characters to pro-wrestling piped in on TV screens, all bathed in the glow of games and neon.
The current selection of 80-plus games — which cost just 25 cents each to play — includes classics such as Ms. Pac-Man, Crazy Taxi, Dance Dance Revolution and Mortal Kombat. Classic console gaming on projection screens is also available as well as games like giant Jenga and Connect Four.
The beer selection currently includes 64 kinds of beer across 94 taps throughout the space. Eventually, seasonal craft cocktail options will also be available. Six varieties of pizza by the slice are currently available, including the brand’s best-selling mac ’n’ cheese pie with Cheddar cheese sauce, mozzarella, mac ’n’ cheese, bacon and Cheddar.
Akers’ personal favorite is the Mona Lisa pizza with a garlic olive-oil base, mozzarella, spinach, green peppers, artichoke and tomatoes. Salads and sandwiches will be added to the menu in the future.
“I’m just really excited to get to this point,” Akers says. “After two-and-a-half-years on this project, we’re excited that the neighborhood gets to see and enjoy it.”
For its opening, Up-Down Arcade Bar offers free tokens for games to the first 100 guests from 5pm to 1:30am. Ongoing specials include 2-for-1 tokens until 9pm on Saturdays and a discounted combo deal on Sundays that includes a punch card for six tall boys and a pound of tokens in an official Up-Down fanny pack for $25.
Up-Down Arcade Bar is open Monday through Friday from 3pm to 2am and Saturday through Sunday from 12pm to 2am.
Up-Down Arcade Bar, 405 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, Missouri, 314.449.1742, updownarcadebar.com/st-louis