San Diego’s favorite arcade bar Coin-Op Game Room is moving on up the coast and settling right here in good old San Francisco in the old Drake (and Orson before that) space in SoMa. The popular SD (and Sacramento) spot puts a strong focus on craft cocktails alongside elevated bar food among tons of games. Owners Hassan Mahmood, Roy Ledo and Eric Lockeridge are currently building out a space that puts all 10,000 square feet of space to good use. Here’s what to expect.
- Games. So many games. We’re talking top-10 rated pinball machines — including the brand-new Ghostbusters pinball (which we hear is "absolutely killer" and something to get excited about) and Wizard of Oz pinball — retro games like Time Crisis 2, Donkey Kong, Ms. Pacman and Galaca, multi-plater games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Super Off Road and Pacman Battle Royale and more.
- Very craft cocktails designed for a high-volume setting. "We wanted to do something that you can get a certain kind of drink or you can still get nice, big cubes without having to sit down in a speakeasy bar setting and it’s lively and fun," owner Mahmood told Eater SF. He and Ledo are currently creating a cocktail menu specifically for SF that includes ingredients like a housemade mint syrup.
- Approachable bar food. San Diego chef Mark Bolton (The Lion's Share) is designing the menu, which will have pizza and other shareable bar food. "I refuse to use the phrase ‘upscale bar food,’ but we want to do something fun and to bring you back to when you were eating casual food," Mahmood explained. Food will be for order at the bar to take where you like.
- An upstairs pinball lounge. All those aforementioned pinball machines will live in the upstairs loft space that has a view of the city skyline. "The first floor is meant to be a little bit rustic, industrial, louder and brasher like an arcade," Mahmood said, while the upstairs pinball lounge will be "more loungey and refined in terms of look and feel with a smaller bar, so still the same food and drink offerings."
- A secret bar with a Tron theme. Even if you don’t know what Tron is (like this writer), you can get excited about this backroom that will be entered through an out-of-service Tron game. It may sound cliche, but the theme of the room is cool — the (incredibly simplified) story of Tron is that a boy goes searching for his father and ends up going inside a videogame to find him. Thus, this bar will be like the inside of the game. SF Heimat, an all-female team that used to work for designer extraordinaire Ken Fulk, is heading up the design of the entire project and have been nerding out on videogames to make it all authentic.
Coin-Op Game Room is anticipated to open in late July. Brush up on your game skills until then.