512 Fremont St
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Insert Coins the phrase you see upon any arcade machine. A phrase that stays with you after all this time after so many different battles, fights and massacres. "Insert Coins" stays with you. Insert Coins becomes a name of a video lounge game bar and you have to check it out. Check it out when you hit Vegas for Amusement Expo.
Insert Coins in neon and big lights made me want to put in two tokens for a good play. Walking across the street, I passes the doorman and enter a real gamers retreat. An arcade and a bar in one. The tron-esque bar grabbed me while the loud DJ sounds splashed across my ears. Soft couch areas to my right where a gamer could sit down get a drink and play any system they want. Arcade machines to the left with 60 titles from yesteryear. In the center, booze and more video game screens.
Walking around the all encompassing bar I hit the back and found where the music was coming from. As people danced to some epic beats, I looked from where I came in and wished there was one in LA. The video game murals made me remember past art shows in LA. Thirst set in and circumnavigated to the bar to get more of the place, also I was a fan of Magellan.
I sat next to Christopher LaPorte proprietor/inventor of the the gamers paradise we were in. You can check what I recorded of the conversation above, but for what didn't get recorded I got that Christopher was a businessman and a gamer. Christopher offered me a drink, to which my thirst thanked him. We talked about an array of subjects about his place of business and his gamer interests.
"Street Fighter Two" , he said was his reason for opening the bar, also going through the Vegas scene and never finding a place of his own. So why not put video games together with a bar. It's an idea that few places pull off well. Being there for Amusement Expo I didn't see that many improvement to a gamer experience. Sure you've got some trivia pads at some sports restaurants, but you don't have a 360 you can play at the bar.
People around me were playing whatever game they wanted on a big screen as they drank, Twisted Metal for PS3, Street Fighter X Tekken for 360, all the new titles come in. As Christopher put it, if you have a drink in hand at the bar you can play any game you want. You can also sit back at one of the comfy couch areas and get your drinks served to you. The big screen in back allows for screenings and contests as well as some big Wii bowling matches.
If you check out Insert Coins Facebook page or website you'll see a wide selection of events to choose from. Retro days to video game karaoke nights, special events and contests and what have you. With DJ's of all sorts stopping by.
As Christopher and I started our conversation we talk about the gaming industry like what Capcom was doing with it's DLC to why arcades aren't working. Christopher gave two very good reasons: expensive machines can't outsell the home consoles in America and the gaming community limits itself to men at certain ages. Christopher explained game companies and arcades don't recognize that everyone can play video games including women to which he added 50% of the customers were women to his place. Women want to play too, he added.
His bar was open for everyone and I saw as many male patrons as female all playing/dancing/drinking that nigh. His bar was destined to fail said so many naysayers, he knew the risks of opening the place an they were high. Christopher's bar will be celebrating it's one year anniversary on April 15 in a few short weeks. He just cerebrated his birthday on March 17th with a tasting looking Wii cake. April 15 I might add, marks the end of GameWorks only a few miles away which has been on the Vegas Strip for years as one of the top arcades with past a recent arcade machines. Christopher doesn't worry about this outcome as he see possible expansion to more locations around the country. Could this be a new Dave and Buster's that isn't for the family?
Insert Coins is a phrase that should have become a bar/cool place to hang a long time ago. I hope one happens in LA.
more pictures after the break