Did you grow up in the age of classic gaming (like me) in the 80s and 90s when going to the arcade was an absolute integral part of life? Remember the good ol’ days of lining up quarters on the arcade console waiting eagerly for your turn to challenge the “unbeatable” incumbent player on games like Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat? For me, it was all about Chun Li: “Yatta!” Walking into EightyTwo, now open in the Arts District in Downtown LA, is like taking a trip back in time when arcade game consoles were ubiquitous (7-Elevens used to be the hang out spot after school right?).
According to EightyTwo’s founders, Scott Davids and Noah Sutcliffe, the year 1982 — where the bar gets its name from — was the beginning of the “Golden Age” of classic gaming that spawned an entire generation of avid gamers who frequented arcades, often obsessively like myself!
Both Davids and Sutcliffe grew up during this age and were avid gamers like many of us, but their passion for classic arcade gaming really went above and beyond and compelled them to bring the arcade back to the present age where in-home and online gaming still reigns supreme. Davids had already been collecting arcade consoles for years and now has 37 total with titles like the aforementioned Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat II along with other classics like Pac-Man, Tron, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There are currently 22 arcade games on the floor and will rotate with other games in the collection over time. In addition, an entire area dedicated to pin ball machines completes the gaming picture. Most games cost only a quarter to play.
My game request for Davids and Sutcliffe? A little known title from 1992 called “Time Killers” (click here to check it out on YouTube).
EightyTwo is a huge boon to the community as it took over a highly visible but once-underutilized one-story building on the northwestern edge of the Arts District at 3rd Street and Alameda. The industrial-like building is actually divided into two completely separate sections — what used to be an accounting office and a Japanese bookstore — with a small internalized surface parking lot wedged in between. Now, half of that parking lot has been converted into an outdoor courtyard with two imported trees becoming the perfect hang out spot for imbibers taking a break from gaming. The new courtyard connects the two sections helping to form an amazing cohesive and surprisingly intimate setting where gamers shuffle back and forth between the two sections: one filled with arcade game consoles and other pin ball machines.
Finally, what is my favorite part about EightyTwo besides the awesome collection of arcade games itself? The fact that Davids and Sutcliffe decided to put their front entrance along desolate 4th Place instead of bustling 3rd Street. By doing that simple act, people are now “forced” to walk along 4th Place to go inside the bar, helping to activate this stretch of the street and making the area feel safer and more vibrant, which will hopefully lead to more surrounding developments in the future.
For more info, please visit EightyTwo online.