Lakeview’s popular barcade levels up for a second location in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, reprising its reliable formula of craft beer, free arcade games, and cavernous spaces. Bar owners and twin brothers Brian and Neil Galati designed the interiors, which embrace the 1931 loft building’s industrial roots. They repurposed a collection of vintage fire extinguishers, meat grinders, and large wire spools for factory-chic light fixtures. An old hydraulic lift serves as the host stand, offering up visitors to a wired wonderland of old video games.
By pastiching 1980s kitsch and disparate 20th century antiques, they have given the space an unabashed if over-stimulating sense of fun—an appropriate setting for happy hour trips down 8-bit memory lane. The entryway is papered with the poems and drawings of Shel Silverstein. A neon sign reads, “Don’t grow up it’s a trap”. DJs spin in front of a wall made from 10,000 cassette tapes.
Despite the flickering screens throughout, the Galatis included a slight protest against constant entertainment. What they call “the first cell phone check-in station in Chicago” encourages patrons to leave their devices at the door and “reconnect with reality.” Guess you’ll just have to remember those cheat codes and passwords without looking them up first.