Downtown Detroit’s first arcade bar and pizzeria Pop + Offworld debuts on Friday night on the second floor of the Checker Bar. The space formerly home to a rotating pop-up venue, was taken over by three-year-old roaming Offworld Arcade in mid-August.
Offworld Arcade founder Don Behm has been in talks with the owners of Checker Bar (also Grand Trunk Pub and Whisky Parlor) for the past few years to convert the venue into a permanent arcade.
During a preview this week, Behm told Eater it was a relief to finally give his vintage pinball and video game machines a more permanent home. By moving the games frequently, Behm said, accidents sometimes occurred. Sets occasionally fell off of trucks or down the stairs during loading and unloading, which no doubt was rough on the several-decades-old equipment. Behm’s collection at Offworld includes more than 30 machines including Mortal Kombat II, Forgotten Worlds, Tron, Q*Bert, and Ms. Pac-Man. Each costs 25 cents to play.
The owners of Checker arranged the buildout of the space which is now outfitted with retractable, garage door-style windows. The walls have been left somewhat raw in spots and paired with collages from fashion magazines, green and blue paint, and an ‘80s-inspired mural by local artist Michelle Tanguay. Kitschy touches like red leather bumpers and a silver corrugated panels also give the Pop + Offworld a nostalgic feel.
Meghan Shaw helped developed the Pop pizza menu at filled creatively assembled New York-style pies sold whole and by-the-slice. The Pig Destroyer, for example, is a red sauce pizza with a “cheez” blend (cheddar, blue, feta, and mozzarella), pepperoni, bacon, sausage, bacon aioli, and crunchy pork rinds. The white Napalm Breath slices come loaded with cheez, feta, yellow peppers, and garlic three ways. Plenty of vegan options are also available. Pop + Offworld also promises a full bar with beer and colorful cocktails with names plucked from 1980s pop culture.
Photographers Michelle and Chris Gerard took a tour of the recently opened space. Take a peek around the arcade bar in the gallery below.
Pop + Offworld is located above Checker Bar at 124 Cadillac Square in downtown Detroit (enter through the door on the left and head up the stairs); all ages from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and 21+ from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.