It’s game on for Ready Player One, Detroit’s new entrant into the arcade bar category. The adult-oriented gaming destination will open its doors to the public on October 20 with a fully loaded comfort food menu, themed drinks, and nostalgic arcade machines.
Ready Player One was founded by longtime friends and gamers Wael Gharbie and Mahamed Badaoui. The pair set out renovating their space earlier this year with the intention of bringing an arcade bar to Detroit — a trend among drinking establishments that didn’t reach the city until relatively recently.
Located on the 3,500-square-foot basement level of downtown’s refurbished Globe Tobacco Building, Ready Player One features roughly 40 machines — 30 arcade and 10 pinball — from the 1980s and 1990s. Among the games, customers will find titles like Punch-Out!!, Ms. Pac-Man, Tetris, and Commando, as well as a Nintendo 64 loaded with Mario Kart.
The interior of the bar is equal parts historic, industrial, and pop culture-influenced. The owners recruited a variety of artists to paint murals on the walls with nods to Detroit as well as films like RoboCop. The bar top itself embedded with old video game cartridges covered in a clear epoxy finish.
Instead of requiring quarters, Ready Player One operate on a “free-play” model where gold tokens are dolled out liberally with the purchase of food and drinks.
Patrons can expect items like sliders, Rock ‘n’ Rye barbecue chicken wings, and macaroni and cheese from chef Jordan Ceresnie’s menu. The bar also offers a selection of themed cocktails such as the Pac-Man Sour with pineapple-infused pisco, honey simple syrup, lemon, lime, and egg white or the Crash Bandicoot — a mixture of blueberry gin, lavender simple syrup, club soda, and an orange peel.
Photographers Chris and Michelle Gerard got a sneak peek at the space ahead of this week’s official opening. Check out the interior and start plotting your gaming strategy in the gallery below.
Ready Player One will open from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Sunday. Closed Mondays for private events.