arcadia

Arcadia, where you can order a beer and dive into some Fortnite. [Photo: Francis Flisiuk]

Closed for renovations since February, Arcadia National Bar is back in business. Maine’s only video game-themed watering hole has several new games, a roomier bar, new seating areas and other bells and whistles, as well as a full kitchen serving a menu of zany food items until last call. 

This writer spent a couple hours at Arcadia during their soft opening night last Sunday, and I can honestly say it’s the most fun I’ve had going to a bar alone. The space is built for solo adventures in the company of others, with plenty of single-player games to sink an hour into. Co-owner Dave Aceto tells me that Arcadia’s quite popular with introverts, who appreciate a space where they can come, drink a beer, and play a couple games without the social pressure to dance or mingle.

But whether solo or in a group, the place offers a lot of stimuli. We captured as much of it as we could at Arcadia 2.0.

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PASSION FOR GAMES | Dave Aceto, a lifelong Mainer, co-owns Arcadia National Bar with Ben Culver, who moved here several years ago from Seattle. Aceto said that him and Culver “spent all they had” to provide the features their customers have been asking for, specifically a late-night kitchen and ample table space. Arcadia, he says, is now a “choose-your-own-adventure” kind of bar experience.

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ROOM TO CHILL | The new and improved bar at Arcadia seats three more people than it used to, and now has a dedicated food and drink ordering space, which both the patrons and bartenders appreciate. A lot less clutter, they say.

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THEY GOT THE GAMES | Also new at Arcadia is a dedicated space for the door person, who checks IDs, and backpacks (to make sure nobody’s smuggling in booze from the outside). Here is also where visitors can check out board games or book time on one of the consoles.

 

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DEDICATED PATRONS | Arcadia’s visitors tend to be men, but plenty of women enjoy the space too. Last Sunday, a women-only pinball league called Belles & Chimes kicked off their season at Arcadia.

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BLAST FROM THE PAST | Most of the pinball games Arcadia offered in its first iteration are still there, including Future Spa, Monster Bash, Theatre of Magic, Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy, Dracula, Addams Family, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, Attack From Mars, and White Water.

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NEW STUFF | With the renovations came more room for new pinball and arcade games, including Elvira Scared Stiff, Jackbot, Whodunit, Avatar, Space Zap, Murdertime, Wrestlefest, and Total Nuclear Annihilation (which we hear is one of only two in New England). On the console side of things, an XBox One is a new addition, loaded with several multiplayer games.

 

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QUIETER SPACES | Things could get noisy and crowded in the old Arcadia. But now Arcadia has two rooms and a couple little nooks that offer respite from the hecticness of the bar area. These rooms are great for private conversation or a one-on-one card/board game.

 

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YOU CAN WIN PRIZES HERE | This section of Arcadia is appropriately called the “Old Orchard Beach” room. Both the skee ball and claw machine are new additions and tempt visitors with the chance to win drink tickets, Magic the Gathering booster packs, and stuffed Batmen.

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THE CLASSICS | All the old arcade games are still here, including Arkanoid, Ms. Pac Man, Galaga, Tron, Tapper, Ice Cold Beer, Mini Baseball, Tekken 5, Mortal Kombat 3, and Tetris to name a few.

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THIS IS FOOTBALL | People playing what appears to be John Madden '93 on Super Nintendo. Madden once said, "Don't worry about the horse being blind, just load the wagon."

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BREAKFAST ALL NIGHT LONG | Where else in Portland can you get a breakfast sandwich this late?

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GAME FUEL | Arcadia's pineapple coconut bites. 

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FUN COCKTAILS | Ranging from $9-12, the cocktails are a little pricey, but are still enticing thanks to their unique flavor combinations and pop-culture references. My favorites were the Bears, Beets, and Battlestar Galactica (rum punch with pomegranate, beet, lime, lemon, and ginger syrup), and the Fire Flower (Monte Alban Mezcal, Cocchi Americano, Mike’s Hot Honey, grapefruit, and lime). There’s also a nod to Rick and Morty with their Pickle Rick drink — essentially just a shot of Evan Williams with pickle juice chaser, which actually smooths out the bite of the alcohol rather nicely. 

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THE MIGHTY DOG | This crispier take on the classic corn dog arrives dripping in queso and is quite the mouthful.  

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EPIC DRUNCHIES | Arcadia now has a kitchen which is open until 12:30 am, serving up the ideal food to satisfy a drunk gamer’s appetite. Pictured here are the pineapple coconut bites, but other highlights include pickled quail eggs, confit chicken nuggz, the Phillip J. Fries, and the smoked gouda corn dogs. Arcadia’s kitchen can also now boast that it’s the only place in town serving musubi, a popular Hawaiian snack of spam and sushi rice. It’s weird, but trust us. Try it.

 


 

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