Grown-up blast from the past: Joystick Gamerbar

Terah Boyd|The Signal


 Terah Boyd|The Signal
Terah Boyd|The Signal

Tucked away between vacant storefronts on revived Edgewood Ave. hides Joystick Gamebar. A short walk from Sister Louisa’s Church and Soundtable, Joystick houses more than 13 old school arcade games to appeal to your inner middle school nerd and crafty cocktail slinging bar to charm any college kid looking for a fun night out.

Joystick’s laid back, quirky charm is a nice fit for Edgewood. The LEED-Platinum building houses old school delights including Street fighter, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Rampage, Galaga, Pac Man, Mortal Kombat and Space Invaders. Each game is 25 cents a play, so a roll of quarters can insure a fun night. Joystick host guys battling over high scores and even date-nighters taking turns playing pinball.

The friendly bar staff supply tasty brews and cocktails to thirsty gamers. The “Cowboys and Indians,” chai tea soda and whiskey served on the rocks was a highlight. The “Chimney Sweep”, with a sage, apple and bacon bourbon, (like a breakfast delight in your mouth), and bitters was a fun drink. The interesting, but not outrageous, cocktail menu is enough for a trip back.

It was a disappointment that there were no munchies available. It would have been fun to see a fresh spin on gamer food staples, (I know there is a way to make the Cheetos into cool bar food).

One potential hazard of the intimate spot is its size. Although it was busy enough to have an energizing vibe, one big group could make Joystick cramped. Although there are a variety of games available some favorites, like Street Fighter and Space Invader, had a line for a chance to play.

One particular frustration was that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game restarted, twice. The games are old school, but the faulty game was obviously annoying to many patrons.

Joystick offers a good night out for a couple of buddies and even a fun date spot. The loud buzz of the arcade and even the scoreboard chalkboard above the lounge area add to this nightspots’ approachable urban charm. With reasonably priced drinks, quarter arcade games and late hours Joystick is place to let your inner gamer shine.