Akihabara Barcade Combines Craft Beer and Games...

RealClear Staff


     Tokyo’s Akihabara District is in the center of the Japanese capital, “Electric City.” This area has a huge, cyber sampler for digital dorks. It is a sanctuary to seven-story arcades, maid cafés, motherboard & similar bric-a-brac and control panels from yesteryear.

“There’s big game stores, there’s small game stores…anything you want, technology-wise, is there,” Brandon Osha said after visiting Akihabara during a jaunt to Japan with his wife, Tiffany. “It’s a little overwhelming at first, but once you settle in, it’s a ton of fun, man.”

Even better is the Oshas brought back a bit of Japan’s byte delight to the Denver area—Akihabara Arcade and Bar. This four-walled wonder lies in the heart of Westminster, where suds and Space Invaders come together to form a foaming fun factory for gamers and beer geeks alike.

[Akihabara Arcade & Bar | view from behind the bar | Photo: Akihabara Arcade]

But the couple isn’t new to this niche. Brandon, according to Tiffany, is “the mad, creative mind” behind the business. In addition to investing in this venture, Brandon’s a hardcore gamer and bought his first arcade cabinet at the sweet age of 16. He’s also a Colorado kid, as he was the manager at Aurora’s Nickel-A-Play for four years. Down the line, he had a career in the craft-brewing biz—first for Flying Dog then supervising the secret-sauce system for Breckenridge’s specialty-beer program.

The barcade has both Asian and American games with a line of craft beers to those with a finer sense of foam. The couple will offer mashes from crafters such as Crooked Stave and Odd 13.

“I’m going to try to always have at least two really good sours on tap, and I’m going to keep everything rotating as much as I possibly can,” Brandon said.

Not only will the Oshas sling suds, they’ll also sell energy drinks and Japanese sodas such as Ramune—and cocktails of course. While Akihabara doesn’t have a full-size kitchen, customers can slurp down ramen snacks. Brandon and Tiffany are trying to pull in food trucks too.

[Photo: Akihabara]

In addition to artisan ales, customers can try out an array of 23 arcades—even a claw machine called UFO Catcher. Their collection also includes two Sega Versus City stands—we’re talking dual-screen action for fighting fun (Street Fighter 2 Turbo and Marvel VS Capcom). There are also three, shooting games from Japan’s company, Cave.

And what dork dive would be complete without kitsch? They’ve an oversized, Brandon Osha-built Nintendo control panel. It’s oddly but amazingly wired to an old-school NES console. “I have the projector hooked up, and [the big gamepad] is really fun,” Brandon smilingly explained. “It’s really hard, but it’s fun.”

It’s the Osha’s hope for Akihabara to become part of Colorado’s gaming community. Whether you’re serious about game systems or a part-time player, their barcade was built for you. “I’ve got puzzle games, I’ve got shooters, I’ve got fighters,” Brandon added. “I made sure I had a good lineup of games for everybody.”

Akihabara’s days away from its official, grand opening; but find out more on their Facebook page! (8901 Harlan St. | Westminster, Colorado)



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