Arcade games are for grown-ups too, and Orange County has the best bars in which to find them. From Space Invaders to POV shoot-’em-up games at which your children are already better than you are, come play your new and old favorites at these locations around town. The best news, perhaps, is that these being bars rather than arcades, your kids won’t be allowed in.
1545 Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, CA 92802
You want games? The ESPN Zone is all about games. When you’re done, tired or in between watching a hundred games on the big screens, go play several of the vast multitude waiting for you upstairs. Like the old-style arcade games? There are tons of them. Think you can handle the new games? There’s a lot of them too. Think an approachable driving game is a fitting compromise and way to get your confidence back? ESPN Zone has them all, plus skee-ball, air hockey, basketball, simulated shooting, biking and skiing. You can even race wave runners. At the end of it all, you can return satisfied to the Donkey Kong machine to see that the high score you put up 20 minutes ago has already been annihilated.
Out Of The Park Pizza
5638 E. La Palma Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92807
What do you like more: pizza, handcrafted beer, televised sports or arcade-style video games? Can’t decide? At Out Of The Park, you don’t have to as you get all that and more. You don’t have to sacrifice excellent food just to enjoy an authentic arcade experience of your own. You also don’t have to risk the scrutiny of over-protective parents simply because you want to drink an actual beer while you play games that may have been designed for children. Out Of The Park has created an atmosphere where adults and kids can all feel welcome, and no one feels strange, except the adults get the better of it because they’ve got way more quarters.
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2053 E. Orangethorpe Ave.
Placentia, CA 92870
About as far as you can get from the ESPN Zone and still be a bar with video games, this bar is not going to floor you with ambiance. But, if you are not looking for Disney-fashioned sensory overload, you may be drawn to the far more relaxed pace and place that is the Clubhouse. Bands play here, which you may or may not have heard of, but unlike other dives, the Clubhouse has some fantastic food. It also has that bowling game that provides hours of worthwhile distraction and the occasional, wholly friendly wager.
Beach Ball Bar
2116 W. Oceanfront
Newport Beach, CA 92663
Technically, Beach Ball Bar only has one true arcade game, but that comes with several wholly mitigating caveats. First, the game it has is the super awesome, terribly addicting golf game. Secondly, Beach Ball has a bunch of pool tables, a juke box and a photo booth, so it’s like a total grown-up carnival. Additionally, Beach Ball is located on the waterfront at Newport Beach pier. The view alone should be enough to make up for the absence of Pac-Man.
741 Baker St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
In a world swelling with martini bars and wine lofts, wouldn’t it be nice to relax in the type of place that still has bumper pool? The Huddle does. It also has pinball, video games, darts, pool and buckets of cheap beer. It also has loads character, so if you are looking for martinis and wine lofts, this isn’t exactly it. If you’d rather meet a few of your more laid-back acquaintances and drop a few quarters learning you are nowhere near as good at that boxing game as you used to be, this is the place.
Christopher Schmidt is a freelance writer experiencing and espousing the glory that is Orange County. Driven to travel, drawn to sports, spirits and celebrity, Chris’ work can be found on