Monday, May 14th, 2018
4 Arcade Bars Serving Craft Beer in Bellingham
Brandon Fralic

With the recent opening of the Ruckus Room, Bellingham suddenly has enough arcade bars and gaming lounges around town for a proper roundup. From kids to adults; old-school pinball wizards to modern console gamers, there’s an arcade for everyone in Whatcom County.

And local craft beer lovers rejoice: each of these four arcades serve up the suds. So without further ado, let’s get gaming!

Several screens and consoles to choose from at Best Buds. Photo by Sarah Climaco

Ruckus Room Arcade and Fun Center

The Ruckus Room. Brandon Fralic photo.

What’s all the ruckus about? The newest arcade in town, Ruckus Room, of course! This family-friendly arcade welcomes kids and adults alike into its aptly-named Fun Center. Featuring pinball, Pacman, Skee-Ball and sit-down racing games, this room is all about variety. Shoot hoops or shoot a big buck: the choice is yours. In the spirit of the old-school arcade, Ruckus Room operates on a redemption model. Collect enough tickets and you can redeem for a prize (like the cool cat sticker I managed to walk out with).

Ruckus Room is a casual hangout spot. Several tables provide seating space for those who’d prefer to settle in with a beer and simply spectate. Canned and bottled brews are available, with familiar offerings from Boundary Bay, Georgetown, Fremont, and others. Ruckus Room holds weekly pinball tournaments, and their space is available for hosting parties.

Downtown Bellingham

1423 Railroad Ave.

Bellingham, WA  98225

Hours:

Monday – Thursday, 3 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Friday, 3 p.m. – 12 a.m.

Saturday, 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.

Sunday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Best Buds Gaming Lounge

Best Buds offers beer, wine and ciders for those 21+, with many other snacks on the menu. Photo by Sarah Climaco

Fairhaven’s hot spot for family fun, Best Buds is one of my personal favorites in town. Why? Because it combines two of my favorite pastimes: console gaming and craft beer. You won’t find pinball machines here. Rather, Best Buds focuses on all things video games, from Nintendo classics to current favorites. They also offer a solid selection of draft taps, cans, and bottled beer — along with cider, wine, soda, and “junk food delicacies”. Where else could you get a cold glass for your Code Red Mountain Dew?

Best Buds holds weekly events including Super Smash Bros. Melee tournaments, movie screenings, Anime Nights, and more.

Minors are welcome till 8 pm daily, when Best Buds becomes an adults-only lounge for the night.  

Fairhaven

1121 McKenzie Ave.

Bellingham, WA  98229

Hours:

Monday – Friday, 1 p.m. – 1 a.m.

Saturday: 12 p.m. – 1 a.m.

Sunday: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Reset Games Arcade Edition

Reset Games is first and foremost a video game retail shop. But their adjoining Arcade Edition offers the full-on coin-op experience, with arcade cabinets, pinball machines, snacks, and of course local beer. A survey of the beer cooler reveals Aslan Brewing Co. cans, tall boys, and everything in between. This all-ages venue is perfect for parents who need to blow off some steam on the playfield while the kiddos try their hand at Pacman. Regular tournaments keep the ball rolling for pinheads. Smash Bros. fans can get in on the tourney action, too, with events every other Thursday.

Barkley/Sunset area

1255 Barkley Blvd. Ste 101

Bellingham, WA  98226

Hours:

Monday – Saturday: 10 am – 9 pm

Sunday: 11am – 8pm

The Racket Bar and Pinball Lounge

Shakedown Racket Bellingham Live Music Whatcom Pinball

The Racket. Photo by Ryan Russell.

First off, let Lorraine give you a proper introduction to The Racket. Sister biz of The Shakedown, The Racket is known for three things: eats, drinks, and pinball. Head here for arguably the best Philly Cheesesteak in town, served on hoagies straight from Philadelphia. A variety of falafel options are available as well, always prepared “strictly vegetarian”. Wash it all down with your choice of 14 rotating taps, from local favorites to Guinness on nitro. Upstairs, the pinball room boasts some 15+ vintage pinball machines. Tournaments and trivia nights keep things fresh at The Racket. Sorry kids, this bar is 21 and over only!

Downtown Bellingham

1220 N. State Street

Bellingham, WA  98225

Hours:

11 a.m. – 2 a.m, every day!

Also, see our Beer page for more posts about Bellingham Craft Beer.

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About the Author:

Freelance writer Brandon Fralic has called Bellingham home since 2006. He writes about the outdoors, travel, and craft beer for a variety of regional publications. In 2013, Brandon co-founded Beers at the Bottom to highlight trails and ales in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.