16-Bit Bar + Arcade Opens Today in Lakewood

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For the past three months, Stow native Troy Allen and his team have been hard at work converting the old Five Guys spot on Detroit (15012 Detroit Ave., 216-563-1115, 16-bitbar.com) into an adult-themed wonderland. And according to Allen, the 4,000-square-foot space came out better than he (and we) could have hoped for.

“We’re really happy with it,” says Allen, who also owns the Columbus-based brand strategy firm Elevate. “We wanted to take everything that was great about Columbus and kick it up a notch in Cleveland — and we’ve definitely done that.”

The Columbus location, coincidentally enough, opened one year ago today. It was voted Best New Bar in Columbus last year by the readers of Columbus Underground and it continues to be a top destination for fans of old-school arcade games and pinball. It does so thanks to its attractive, comfortable and contemporary setting.

“People are always shocked when they walk into our Columbus spot because it’s nicer than they expect,” Allen says. “It’s not dimly lit with that arcade-style neon carpet. And while Columbus is our baby, we’ve made Cleveland even nicer in terms of materials and finishes. We’re really proud of it.”

Allen says that he’s also made the layout more user friendly. There’s more room to move about, a bigger bar, and a sweet street-side covered patio on Detroit that can accommodate 35 people.

There are 40 games — 35 arcade and five pinball. All the games are original, in phenomenal condition, and set to free play (except pinball, which are more expensive to maintain, says Allen). Games are swapped in and out based on customer demand.

16-Bit serves no food but welcomes guests to bring in or order in (hint: Melt is two blocks away). The bar has 24 craft beers on tap plus canned beer and cocktails.

Check it out for yourself when it opens to the public today, August 29, at 4 p.m.

Next up for Allen and 16-Bit is Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, which is slated to open Q1 2015.

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