Last Friday The Drunken Moogle had the pleasure of attending a sneak peek of Joystick Gamebar, Atlanta’s newest geeky watering hole. Classic arcade games were played, classy cocktails were drank, and conversations about the Goonies 2 NES game were had. Towards the end of the night, I was lucky enough to get to talk to owners Johnny Martinez and Brandon Ley about their bar.
Owners Martinez and Ley say they were inspired to open a gaming bar, as opposed to a regular bar, by locations around the US such as Barcade and Ground Kontrol. Martinezs brought up the nostalgia of having a physical place to go meet up with friends and have fun, like mall arcades in the ’80s and ’90s.
“What the games bring, in addition to a lot of fun and comradery, is it makes the place casual. You can’t have a snooty pertencious place with Chun-Li jumping up and down in victory in the background,” said Ley.
The atmosphere was easy going. Joystick’s friendly staff put out bowls of its special snack food which included homemade cheese poofs, salt and vinegar goldfish and chips, and, my favorite, bacon pecan caramel corn. Having a bowl of food nearby to grab in between rounds of Mortal Kombat just felt right. In addition to the food, I also got to try a few of the bar’s tasty cocktails. The Last Level, which turns out to be a twist on the classic prohibition-era cocktail The Last Word, indeed lived up to it’s description of being peppery, tart, and strong.
The bar sports a variety of classic arcade cabinets with games such as Street Fighter II, X-Men, and Galaga. Bring lots of quarters, though, as the cabinets take coins and you’re going to want to try all of them. More games are on the way, with a special game that Joystick is choosing to keep as a surprise for later.
When asked if they planned to have any themed cocktails in the future, Martinez stated, “the cocktail bar is always evolving and we like to have fun with it… so we’ll see what happens.”
Joystick Gamebar opened Saturday, August 18th, and is located at 427 Edgewood Avenue in Atlanta, Ga.
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