Barcades are a phenomenon and a fad. The idea of taking a basically defunct business model and making it profitable by injecting booze is just the right amount of cliché to bring out the hipsters. But just because it’s cliché, doesn’t mean it has to be bad.
Cobra Arcade Bar does plenty to satisfy even the most snooty hipsters with a full bar, open patio, and a brutalist meets graffiti decor. But, we’ve talked about the bar enough…
The arcade features over 40 fully restored classic arcade and pinball machines. These are relics from a time when a quarter had to last you. The games all work great and look great too. Many of them are restored to the original specs, but some of the rescued machines have been too badly damaged to restore original. These unique machines have been adorned with custom artwork by local artists. While at the bar, there are sometimes movies playing, however it’s also pretty normal to see patrons duking it out in a game of Mortal Kombat X or Street Fighter V after the movie is over.
The owner, Ari Bracamonte, explains that he uses the best quality switches on the most abused machines, such as Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike. Even those, he has to replace every couple of months. Machines come and go in the arcade depending on interest and when he gets a new machine. He curates the machines from his own collection of hundreds of cabs. Another thing that will satisfy the purists is the arcade’s dedication to picture quality. Many people who restore machines pop an LCD screen inside the machine when the original CRT monitor expires. However, Ari is always on the look out for classic CRT monitors so that he can repair and salvage monitors for his games. This gives each game that truly retro, pixelated look and feel. To some this seems like a minor detail, but for the hardcore gamers out there, this is like having heated leather seats in a Bentley.
Then there are the events, such as tournaments on Sundays including Tekken Tag Tournament, Street Fighter II, and NBA Jam. Cobra Arcade Bar also hosts a variety of DJ nights including Top 40, EDM, punk rock, and even video game remixes.
Basically, if you’re a gamer, you need to check out Cobra Arcade Bar. The other barcades in the Phoenix valley are really a mixed lot. Either the game selections are very small, the machines are poorly maintained (and mostly emulators), or in some cases, the places have just plain closed. Cobra seems to have all the right elements including great machines, a full bar, and a great location.
Make Cobra Arcade Bar a “MUST PLAY” if you are in Phoenix, Az.
Game List: (subject to change)
Ivan “Ironman” Stewart’s Super Off Road
Marvel vs. Capcom 2
Mortal Kombat II
Street Fighter II: Champion Edition
Street Fighter III: Third Strike
Super Mario Bros.
T2 Judgement Day
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time
Tekken Tag Tournament
Track ‘n’ Field
Here are some photos from Cobra Arcade Bar in Phoenix.
Cobra Arcade Bar
801 N 2nd St #100
Phoenix, AZ 85004