You may need to sit down for this: The long-awaited vintage video arcade bar of your dreams opens in the Castro tonight, ushering in a new era in which you will have to start hoarding quarters for a reason other than laundry.
That's right, ladies and gentlemen, from the people who brought you Blackbird down the street, we have Brewcade (2200 Market Street at Sanchez), a craft beer bar with 25 brews on tap that just happens to have 24 vintage game consoles on which to spend your laundry money.
The mighty fine beer selection, curated by Monk's Kettle alum Kai Villegas, includes things like Anchor Steam California Common, Firestone's Pivo Hoppy Pilsner, Drake's 1500 Dry-Hopped Pale Ale, and Heretic's Shallow Grave Porter. There's also wine available, and a cool selection of non-alcoholic sodas from The Fizzary, as well as munchies like caramel corn. Also, customers are welcome to carry over bigger snacks from Hecho next door.
We showed you the full plethora of available games before, but as it turns out, not every single one of these consoles will be on the floor at all times. (At the moment, for instance, there's no pinball.) However most of them are there, in particular there are dozens of games available on one machine in the last row that's labeled Super Mario Bros.
As partner and game curator “Video” Bob Albritton told SFist, he'll be swapping consoles in and out from his collection depending on which are the most popular and he promises the eventual arrival of a vintage Pole Position game with steering wheel. He says he's constantly in the process of repairing and refurbishing the old machines with new screens and new parts two of the machines on the floor, including the aforementioned multi-game console, have been upgraded with flat screens. "Most of these, though, are still CRT (cathode ray tube) screens and every other week one of them might break. I'm hoping eventually to get flat screens in all the machines."
Albritton is famous up in Marin for operating the 30+-year-old Starbase Arcade in San Rafael. Starbase had to close due to a landlord dispute in 2013, and since then Albritton has made his vintage game collection available for rent, and he partnered with Blackbird owner Shawn Vergara to be the gaming manager at Brewcade. Most games will be 50 cents apiece. And yes, there's a change machine.
Prepare for some new callouses, and I challenge you to beat my high score at Altered Beast. Go.
Brewcade - 2200 Market Street near Sanchez - Open Monday to Friday, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m. to 2 a.m.