Burlington’s Second Barcade is Coming: The Archives

Last night, the Burlington Free Press wrote that a second barcade is coming to the downtown Burlington area: The Archives. Owned by Nathan Beaman, Matthew Walters, Adam Lukens and Matthew Strauss, the bar will mix craft beers and vintage arcade games in the former Burlington Free Press Building on College Street.

The former home to the Burlington Free Press is about to get a new tenant as Burlington’s Department of Planning and Zoning recently approved a zoning permit for an arcade and bar to take part of the space.

The establishment, fittingly dubbed “The Archives,” is targeted to open on May 1, said Matthew Walters, one of the four owners. It has been approved to occupy 2,020 square feet of the first floor at 191 College Street.

Read the entire Burlington Free Press article here.

The owners released their own statement:

The Archives, an arcade and craft beer bar, will be opening in downtown Burlington. It’s home will be the building previously occupied by the Burlington Free Press at 191 College St. The Archives will serve craft beers, wine and unique cocktails alongside a wide selection of classic video games from the 1970s-1990s. After you work up an appetite battling Donkey Kong you can satisfy your hunger on anyone of the half dozen artisanal grilled cheese sandwiches on the menu. Each one being crafted with Vermont made breads and farm to table ingredients.

The Archives will embody all the best parts people love about bar-arcade hybrids, but with Burlington flair.

The concept of a Barcade isn’t new, and it isn’t new to Burlington: the announcement comes just months after Tilt Classic Arcade and Ale House opened up in South Burlington in July, prompting speculation that Burlington might not be big enough for two such establishments. Tilt has proven to be wildly popular over the last six months, with an excellent menu and selection of games, and would have a considerable head start and established clientele. As one commenter pointed out, Tilt doesn’t have to contend with parking in downtown Burlington.

Still, the Archives doesn’t appear to be an act of opportunism: the owners have been working on the concept for the last couple of years after being inspired by the original Barcade in Brooklyn, New York. According to one of the owners: “The Archives is a reference to everything being vintage, the place itself will be an archive of all things cool from those prime gaming decades. We have some plans to work that in other ways as well. Plus with the decor.”

To start, they’ve got a wish list going for games, and anticipate opening with 25+ arcade machines and 5-8 pinball machines.

We’re excited about this, and we don’t think that the presence of one such bar will seriously harm the other. For one, The Archives appears to be aiming towards an adult market, while Tilt is frequently home to adults bringing in their children to share in the games they once grew up with. Having two similar places in the Burlington area will yield a bit more diversity in the games and will hopefully keep both places interesting and worth returning to over and over.

The Archives plans to open on May 1st, 2015, but the owners noted that they still have quite a bit of work in front of them as the renovate the building and get moving on buying a small library of games. A website for the bar has just launched.

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