Sixteen craft beers on tap. 43 classic arcade games and 18 pinball games. The numbers are impressive, but the figures on high-score lists probably matter most at Headquarters Beercade. The bar sits immediately beside Chicago’s red-line tracks, at an intersection of disparate decades. The modern, well-curated collection of beverages there complements an equally well-managed array of vintage arcade games. Punctuated by the soft hush of pints filling with brews from Avery, Two Brothers, Mikkeller, and other craft breweries, digital chatter drifts from those Pac-Man, NFL Blitz, and Street Fighter II machines. Death’s Door gin, distilled in the Midwest, and a solid selection of bourbons ensure that spirits are not neglected on the drink menu.
Those full glasses shimmer with electronic light from the beeping, blinking machines and a handful of flat-screen TVs, which are equally likely to show current sports action or classic Wrestlemania matches. The room has only a few tabletops, some of which have games built in, and friends sit across from one another there, playing competitively or arguing over which Tetris blocks would be most fun to meet at a party.