The Place: Blipsy Barcade, 369 N. Western Ave., Los Angeles; 323-461-7067.
The Hours: Monday-Saturday, 4 p.m.-2 a.m.; Sunday, noon-2 a.m.
The Digs: A neon Pac-Man ghost outside the door lets you know you've arrived at the right spot. Inside, the bar area is lit up like one of those glowing video game specters, illuminating the bottles of booze and a host of stuffed animals and action figures draped everywhere you look. The space is otherwise darker than a closet.
A delicately musty odor suggests a layer of dust likely coats all unseen surfaces. From Double Dragon to Paperboy, retro video games line the walls and ping away beneath the DJ-supplied soundtrack -- which could be anything from frantic cumbias to oldies rock. At Blipsy Barcade, formerly Miss T.'s, you may see people dancing enthusiastically across the floor and occasionally tumbling into dedicated gamers. You may also see gamers, exultant after a victory or despondent after yet another close defeat, pushing away from their machines and bumping into the dancers.
The Verdict: For those of us who were in our youth denied Nintendo consoles, a trip to the mall arcade was unadulterated joy. A lump of quarters bouncing in a pocket, sweaty fingers primed for the wrenching of joysticks and the mashing of buttons, we'd sprint out of the car to reach the maelstrom of blinking lights and synthesizer bleeps. Although we were bad at games, often running out of money in less than an hour of action, the arcade's appeal never waned. Yet had we known losing to the computer at Rampage and Punch-Out would go down better with a gin-and-tonic 20 years later, we would have started drinking at a younger age. For non-gamers, the bar delivers too.
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Cash only, which is good because then you can actually keep track of how much you're drinking. Fairly cheap drinks, including PBR tallboys. Even if the last thing you want to do is take a jab from King Hippo, you'll find Blipsy a fine place to take the edge off.
Final Grade: A
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