Barcade Celebrating 15 Years With Epic Kegs
Barcade, the iconic retro video game and American craft beer bar is
celebrating 15 years at its original Williamsburg, Brooklyn location Oct. 3.
Scroll down for celebrations at other Barcade locations.
When Barcade opened its first location in 2004, the partners didn’t exactly have
high expectations. Now with eight locations, and on the eve of their 15th
anniversary celebrations, I asked founding partner and CEO Paul Kermizian if he
was surprised by the success off their American craft beer and video game franchise.
“Any success at all has been surprising,” he answered.
He explained that when he and his three partners – Kevin Beard, Scott Beard and
Pete Langway – opened the first Barcade, located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, it was
mostly for fun and perhaps for some supplemental income.
“We all had other careers,” he said. “We didn’t know if it would work at all,” Paul
Well, it turned out there were a lot of people who shared their love of classic video
games, and craft beer was getting on a major roll in the U.S. In 2009 they were
confident enough to begin think about a second location. They weren’t convinced
that New York could support another Barcade, so they picked Jersey City, which
opened in 2011.
“Most bars open and then change the theme every few years. It turned out there was
some longevity to our concept,” Paul said. Obviously there’s no lack of choice in the
craft beer world these days and they are able to keep their games interesting by
continuously purchasing and by switching them in and out of their various locations.
And now there’s a whole new generation of Millennial and Gen Zers gamers who are
curious about playing retro games on original machines rather than on copies on
What sets Barcade apart from other arcade game bars is their attention to their
machines – “If we have more than one machine that goes down in one location, we
tend to freak out,” said Kermizian. Three full-time technicians keep up with
everything and video and pinball machines are constantly rotated from Barcade’s
So how do four partners stick together after 15 years? “The fact that our business
has been profitable indeed makes it easier to get along,” said Paul. “We all have
specific roles.” President Pete Langley focuses on expansions and new locations,
brothers Kevin and Scott Beard handle operations and marketing while Paul
oversees everything as CEO.
Now with two locations in Manhattan, one in Philadelphia and one in Connecticut,
Barcade opened its second New Jersey location in Newark in 2017, then this year
jumped across country to open Los Angeles and is currently working on a Detroit
location. Kermizian said 2020 will bring them back closer to home and they are
currently looking at Center City, Philadelphia.
Some may wonder why Barcade doesn’t have its own beer brand to sell in its stores.
Well, they went a different route with that. While in the past they were famous for
mega tap takeovers, now they have brewers make exclusive Barcade beers. Among
their list of collaborators are Victory, Abita, Harpoon, Cape Ann, Captain Lawrence,
Smuttynose and Greenport Harbor. Currently on tap is Rye Score brewed by Victory.
The Brooklyn event features dozens of years of aged beers.
Beer list HERE