Emporium Arcade Bar

Bar / Arcade
Emporium Arcade Bar Emporium Arcade Bar in Chicago's Wicker Park combines a retro arcade with great craft beer & whiskey. Come drink & play in Chicago with Party Earth! Chicago United States 41.906589 -87.671767
4.49 9
Emporium Arcade Bar - Bar | Arcade in Chicago.
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Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Entering Emporium Arcade Bar is like taking a step back into childhood, where frustrations brewed over unsaved princesses, Q*bert blew projectiles out his nose, and the only way to kill monsters was to over-inflate them... ... read full review

  • Hours:

    M–Th 5pm–2am, F 3pm–2am, Sa noon–3am, Su noon–2am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth Emporium Arcade Bar Review

The Scene

Emporium Arcade Bar in Chicago's Wicker Park combines a retro arcade with great craft beer & whiskey. Come drink & play in Chicago with Party Earth!

Entering Emporium Arcade Bar is like taking a step back into childhood, where frustrations brewed over unsaved princesses, Q*bert blew projectiles out his nose, and the only way to kill monsters was to over-inflate them with a bicycle pump.

Anyone who doesn’t get those references should ask their parents.

With exposed brick walls lined with over forty arcade consoles – the vast majority of which debuted in the 80s – Emporium is a veritable palace of retro nerdom, with the added benefit of an extensive beer and whiskey list to go with the games.

The single bar serves two dozen rotating craft drafts and a large selection of bourbons, rums, and tequilas, so patrons can sip Solemn Oath over Space Invaders and Makers 46 over Mortal Kombat.

Fistfuls of 25-cent tokens in hand, hipsters, packs of college kids, and gleefully dorky older Chicagoans plop their beverages on the shelves next to each machine, as the sounds of ambient punk and indie rock disappear beneath the clatter of pinballs and the chatter of gamers and beer enthusiasts.

Large community tables are available up front and can be reserved for parties, and though the venue doesn’t serve grub beyond basic bar snacks, customers are welcome to bring in outside food.

Emporium Arcade Bar gets very busy come Fridays, when large groups looking for unpretentious fun show up, but Grey Goose passes the time until Duck Hunt is free...and Michael Jordan Space Jam pinball is always worth the wait.

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Tip from Emma:

This is a great place to host a birthday party! Rent out the whole bar and Emporium will put together packages to suit your party’s needs, including game token discounts. And you can bring your own food, including the cake, for free!

  • Crowd

    Wicker Park/Bucktown locals, hipsters, craft beer connoisseurs, and video game enthusiasts, mid-20s to mid-40s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Forty-odd arcade games from the 80s and a few from the 90s.

    Playlist of barely audible indie rock and alt tunes.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Bar snacks including beef jerky, nuts, pretzels, and chips.

    Video games use tokens, not quarters.

  • Prices

    Arcade games 25 cents/play. Snacks $2–$7. Beer $4–$6, whiskey and other liquors $4–$8.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Casual: skinny jeans, plaid, witty t-shirts, sneakers, vintage dresses, summer blouses.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Avoid long lines at the door and on the games by going from Sunday through Thursday nights.

  • Close By

    Antique Taco (1360 North Milwaukee Avenue) is a great place to grab tacos and horchata milkshakes for those in need of more than bar snacks.

Emporium Arcade Bar User Reviews

Average rating:
Your mom was wrong. You are never too old to play video games and your vision is just fine.
Letia B. Jun 19, 2013
Walking into Emporium is like finding a secret passageway to a magical world in your Grandfather's wardrobe. Like most people passing through Wicker Park and venturing down Milwaukee, I am a product of the 80s and the 90s. So entering the dimly lit arcade bar makes me instantly light up. I forgive Emporium for not having Tetris, my all-time fave, because they pretty much have everything else. Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Pac-Man, Paperboy, The Simpsons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Super Mario Bros., and oh yea beer. Delicious beer, from chocolate stouts to ciders this place is sure to nestle into your heart. No worries if you run out of quarters. They have one machine filled with free games. I'm particularly fond of the one created for gentlemen and their hats. Recommendation: Go on Sunday, bring your quarters, and don't be a bogart.
Childhood I Never Had
Joshua M. Apr 23, 2013
As someone who was born in the 80s and raised in the 90s, there's a lot of things I didn't get to do as a kid. One was play arcade games. The other was drink my heart's fill of beer. Luckily, I get to do both now. Emporium's games are as diverse as the people who play them; Centipede, Q Bert, Mortal Kombat, Duck Hunt, Tron, and Terminator 2 are just a handful of the more popular ones you can play using Emporium's tokens. The crowds range from almost empty to so-packed-there's-a-line-out-the-door, but don't let that intimidate you from waiting to have your hand at it; friendly Wicker Parkers are more than happy to step aside after losing to watch you do better. Oh, and definitely don't forget to get a drink before you play. My Duck Hunt skills definitely improve after a glass of their chocolate mint stout. And even better? Antique Tacos, found next door, is willing to deliver to you while you play at Emporium.
Should satisfy the gamers and the drinkers, even though Headquarters opened
Brian H. Apr 18, 2013
I've seen Emporium on both a normal weekday night and a crowded weekend night; both visits were a lot of fun. As a gamer, I can personally attest to the quality and variety of the games. From classic arcade titles to 90s co-op beat-em-ups to fighters and pinball machines, Emporium's games rock. Unlike Headquarters, though, you have to pay for the games using their tokens. Don't let this dissuade you, Emporium still has its advantages. Headquarters is right off the red line, so the place can get packed on weekends to the point where drinks are unobtainable and games are unplayable. Headquarters also has the disadvantage of very little floor space. Emporium is roomier, less crowded, has good drink specials, and even plays retro American Gladiators on the tvs! Some may not like the Wicker Park crowd or paying for games, but Emporium overall is still a great time and worth a visit for sure.
Good beer and arcade games?!
Angela C. Mar 18, 2013
I ventured to Emporium on St. Patty's Day Eve, and it was packed! What more do you need than drinks and entertainment?
Best Ever
Zach S. Feb 19, 2013
I absolutely love the Emporium. What could be better than an arcade bar? Pretty much nothing. They have some of the greatest games ever! Galaga, Punch Out, Mortal Kombat, Ms. Pac Man, Donkey Kong, NBA Jam, Duck Hunt, X-Men, TMNT, etc. And they have some great, cheap beers! And if you want to, you could bring in your own food. Basically this place is perfect for a night out if you're a child of the 80s or 90s. Relive your childhood, while at the same time drinking booze! If you're feeling extra hipster-y, grab yourself a PBR, take over the Ms. Pac Man machine, and try for that high score.
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