New cafe in Whitby tapping into arcade culture

Click to play video: 'Whitby cafe gives gamers a blast from the past with vintage arcade games' Whitby cafe gives gamers a blast from the past with vintage arcade games
If you're feeling nostalgic for some game time with old school video games, a new cafe in Whitby may have your fix. With an array of pinball machines, Nintendos and other choices, they have everything a gamer needs -- including lots of coffee – Dec 2, 2019

If you’re feeling nostalgic for old video games, a new café in Whitby may have your fix.

They’ve double-tapped into the arcade world, giving you a chance to jump into your past while also enjoying a cup of coffee.

“You can come in, get your coffee and play a couple rounds of Pac-Man, then head to work,” says Brad Mavin, co-owner of 8-Bit Beans.

The new cafe, set up downtown on Brock Street, is really a blast from the past, offering games like Pac-Man, Tetris and a handful of pinball machines. A real treat for those who want to tap into their nostalgia — remembering what it was like when games were just 8-bit graphics.

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“It’s nice to see something nostalgic like this,” says Angelo Licsi, who came with his wife Krista to check it out. “There’s a lot of games and titles that we grew up with here.”

For Mavin, he’s been playing video games since he was a kid. The owner of the unique coffee arcade shop still remembers when he used to play.

“I was sitting this far away from the TV. I used to play Nintendo and Super Nintendo. That was my jam when I was a kid, five or six years old.”

“There’s not a lot of people that have these old school machines anymore,” says customer Justin Ciancone. “A lot of people have gotten rid of them over the years because they take up too much space.”

Mavin owns a coffee brand, Deadly Grounds, and a cafe in Courtice. Already being a lover of coffee and video games — it was only natural for him to bring these two items together to make the perfect combo.

“The ongoing joke was that my other company Deadly Grounds was my man cave. So this is now an extension of my man cave.”

The concept of a coffee shop and arcade games is relatively untapped. Gaming and bars have been making a mark with establishments like Dave and Buster’s and The Rec Room in the GTA, but this is one of the first ones in the Durham Region.

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A perk for the Licsi’s. “I think it’s great you don’t have to drive into Toronto anymore to do things like this. There’s no board game cafes or anything like that around here.”

Whether it’s mashing the keys on an old school SNES or playing Duck Hunt — it’s a win for everyone who walks in. The best part for some players is that there’s a rendition of “mom’s basement”. It comes with a vintage TV set, an old couch and a Nintendo pre-loaded with your favourite games.

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“It’s honestly reminiscent of going into your parents’ basement,” says Angelo. “You get to play the games you grew up with. It’s kind of fun.”

“I’m super happy because I feel like Whitby is lacking with fun stuff,” says Travis.

At this time, it’s a full-service cafe, but within the next week, Mavin says they plan on serving choice craft brews while diving into the game world at night.

“We’re a cafe arcade by day, specializing in coffees. By night, we’re a bar arcade with craft beer and different events throughout the week.”

Whatever your taste — you’re sure to find something you can level-up with at the cafe.

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Editor’s note: A previous version of this story used the trademarked term “barcade” in reference to the cafe. This has been removed and we regret the error.

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