Salem’s Bit Bar Opens in Former Jailhouse
The greater Boston area’s first bar-arcade features classic games from the 1980s and ’90s, craft beers, and creative food.
Located in the former home of A&B Burgers (now located on Beverly’s Cabot Street), Bit Bar, a classic bar-arcade and restaurant that sits within the Old Salem Jail across from the historic site of Parker Brothers, has been opened last spring and has quickly become a popular spot for game and beer aficionados alike.
Bit Bar was created by dedicated classic game enthusiasts—Joshua Allen, Gideon Coltof, Rob Hall, Max Clark, Andrew Wiley, Raz Casarjian, Dominic Amenta, Eric Hammer, and Eric Spackman—who met through the group Boston Retro Gamers and started Bit Fest, a concept of wrangling 30-plus arcade machines to pop up temporarily in cafes, local breweries, bookstores, and hair salons. The results were amazing and the team, which had always had its eye on opening a permanent arcade restaurant and bar, decided to build on that success. Hence, the birth of Bit Bar.
“Arcade bars are a proven concept nationally but something that the greater Boston area has been missing,” states the Bit Bar team on its website. “We aim to put our own stamp on this concept by sharing our love for the art, music, and culture of classic games. We also are looking for ways of connecting with the heirs of this legacy, independent game developers, with a dedicated space for them to exhibit and special events for presentations of new creations.”
Bit Bar features more than 30 arcade games from the ’80s and ’90s, including staples like Ms. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Tetris, as well as such pinball gems as the Addams Family and Cyclone.
When you want to take a break from gaming, Bit Bar offers a creative menu that includes steamed dumplings, tacos, and an elk burger served on a Doughssant (a donut + croissant) with black garlic icing. Wash down the inventive offerings with one of Bit Bars specialty cocktails named after video game characters like the Princess Peach (citron vodka, peach schnapps, Short Path triple sec, lime, and cranberry juice) or the Ecto Chaser (Malibu rum, crème de banana, blue curacao, Midouri, and lime), or try one of the local brews and ciders.
Bit Bar is open Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday from noon to 1 a.m., and Sunday from noon to midnight.