What if I told you there existed a magical place, packed full of flannel-wearing children of the 80's, with a plethora of delicious beers on tap and cocktails like the Arcade Lemonade and the Soda Popinski? Now what if I told you it was full of video games, and all of them were free to play?
This is Headquarters Beercade. And it's my favorite bar in Chicago. And it's better than Barcade.
Now I know I'm in the minority here, but hell, I listen to Canadian indie music, I wear flannel, and I have an extensive collection of vinyl that I regularly play on my record player. So, you know, take that for what it's worth. But here's the thing. The word "hipster" doesn't fucking mean anything anymore. The word you're looking for, when you're talking about a dude that wears tight jorts, sunglasses at night, and scoffs at you when you say "I've got next" while he's playing Street Fighter 2 all by himself— the word is douchebag.
Those guys, the guys that stand next to the NBA Jam machine because they think it makes them look cool, they frequent Emporium Beercade, over in Bucktown. Don't go there.
The kinds of "hipsters" you find at Headquarters are more than happy to share the Simpsons machine with you. It's fucking awesome.
Oh, and speaking of the games at Headquarters, here's a short rundown: TMNT, Hat Trick, NFL Blitz 2000, NBA Jam Tournament Edition, Gorf, Asteroids, X-Men, Marble Madness (!), Galaga, The Simpsons Arcade, T2, Area 51, and Punch-Out. There are obviously many more, and they're adding new ones all the time (I think they just bought a Cruis'n USA machine, and I've been bugging them on their Facebook page to get Battletoads as well).
That's not to mention the fact that they recently expanded, and now are the largest pinball venue in the whole midwest. Literally— they took over the bar next door and fucking stuffed it with pinball machines. This also means that even at 11 at night on a Saturday, there's rarely a line.
So, you know, this doesn't happen anymore.
My friend Ray and I consistently stay here until closing time, because hell, all the games are free. We have more fun, we drink more, and the bar makes more money. Everyone wins!
Did I mention that on the TVs, they rotate between episodes of Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, old school WWF wrestling matches, and American Gladiator? No? Well I probably should have. It's important.
I don't know why Brooklyn Barcade is getting all this press. Especially since Chicago has been doing barcades better for a while now.
But okay, I understand, city pride and all that. You need more proof.
See over there to the left? I rest my fucking case. Leave a message on my ConTAYct page if you want to put on your finest skinny baby blue corduroy pants and 1996 Atlanta Olympics shirt and hit up the best barcade in the country. I'll buy you a shot of Malort.