Pinball all the rage at Wichita bar
Before Christmas, Old Town will have a new, decidedly retro hangout.
Derek Sorrells and Michael Jensen plan to open a 3,750-square-foot arcade on the first floor of 139 N. Mead, complete with 60 game cabinets.
The business, called simply The Arcade, is expected to open Dec. 15.
And if you’re nostalgic for the arcades of decades ago, it will be the place for you.
Sorrells has collected ‘80s arcade cabinets for the last decade, and Jensen has amassed a collection of ‘90s cabinets – some of which the two are bringing to Old Town.
“The machines are kind of like Lay’s potato chips – you can’t have just one,” Sorrells said with a laugh.
The arcade will serve soda and pre-packaged snacks when it first opens, Sorrels said – though he is “seriously considering” adding alcohol to the menu in the future.
“We’ve been in about 12 (vintage arcades), and about 50 percent don’t sell alcohol and 50 percent do,” Sorrells said. “Both business models work.”
One of the biggest attractions: the arcade will have a machine complete with 60 popular 1980s arcade games – think Pac-Man, Galaga, Centipede – and an 8-by-5-foot screen.
“Three to five people will be able to watch because the screen is so huge,” he said.
There’s no need to bring quarters to The Arcade.
All of the machines will be set on free-play, and people can pay either $8 per hour or $10 for an unlimited day pass.
“We know there’s going to be people that are going to want to play before the movies and then maybe come back,” Sorrells said. “It’s unlimited for one full day – you can come and go as you want.”
The arcade will also be available for private parties – people can rent the space for a few hours before it opens to the public, Sorrells said.
The space at 139 N. Mead most recently housed the clothing store Space Station, which operated in Old Town from January 2016 to this past August.
Sorrells, who had been searching for an arcade space for a few months, said it was a “turn-key operation,” and little to no renovation was required.
A teaser for The Arcade that was posted on Facebook over the weekend has since been shared more than 2,200 times and liked more than 1,400 times.
Sorrells said he has been “totally floored” at the overwhelmingly positive response so far.
The Arcade will be open four days a week to start: 6-10 p.m. Thursdays, 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Fridays, 1 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturdays and 1-8 p.m. Sundays.
To keep up with The Arcade, visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheArcadeWichita.
What: Retro arcade featuring 60 cabinets from the 1980s and ‘90s. Serving snacks and non-alcoholic drinks.
Where: 139 N. Mead
Opening: Fri., Dec. 15
Hours: 6-10 p.m. Thursdays, 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Fridays, 1 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturdays and 1-8 p.m. Sundays.
Admission: $8/hour or $10 for an unlimited day pass
More information: www.facebook.com/TheArcadeWichita