26 June 2014
by Paul Demarte
If you find yourself traveling to Chicago, you have a lot of ground to cover. Between a variety of bars and clubs closing at 3 to 4 a.m., an unlimited supply of amazing food and live forms of entertainment happing everyday, there is a lot going on. But this site isn’t about my love of Chicago or how it's where you will find some of the best pizza in the world. You're here for the gaming. And on top of all that Chicago has to offer, they have one of the finest arcade bars I’ve been able to experience.
Emporium is located in Logan Square (1366 N Milwaukee Ave.), and, if given the opportunity, you should find the time to go there. Emporium houses quite the array of retro games, but if gaming is simply your side agenda for getting your drink on, you are also in luck. For all the craft beer lovers out there, there is a lengthy and affordable list for you to choose from – a reason entirely beyond the games that makes it worth returning.
What first caught my eye was the cleanliness and organization of the entire establishment – it’s like walking into a dream loft/warehouse. Emporium is broken up into different areas; each has its own bar and games. Walking in, the left side has the larger bar, and mounted televisions to complement the games. The right side has a different focus with pinball machines and a stage. What’s going on with that stage?
Throughout the week, Emporium hosts live music and DJs. They even have gaming tournaments and Sunday pizza parties. There is, honestly, something for just about everyone there.
My adventure at Emporium took place on Christmas Eve. After spending time with my family, my fiancé and I took it upon ourselves to relive some gaming memories. I played Smash TV over and over. I reminded myself of how unskilled I am at pinball. I drank beer poured from a Nintendo Zapper handle. We watched Alf and Peewee’s Playhouse Christmas specials on the televisions. And when all was said and done, the both of us conquered The Simpsons – a potential new holiday tradition. It was a blast.
As an added bonus, customers get a chance to play some truly indie games on the Indie City Games machine. There are many games to play on this machine and everything is free to play. As noted on the screen: “This arcade machine was built by Indie City Games, Chicago’s independent game developer’s collective to showcase the work of local game developers and select independent games.” Bet you can't find another arcade with one of these!
I encourage readers to review the expansive drink menu and the list of games Emporium has to offer. The staff was friendly and the crowd was chill. And with 24 taps and over 50 whiskeys, I hope you don’t try to tackle everything in one night.Emporium is definitely on my list of places to revisit.