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One Up Arcade Bar Brings Unique Concept to Broad Ripple

Photographer: Brian Brosmer

Those going down the Broad Ripple Avenue strip will be able to take a stroll down memory lane just by walking through the doors of One Up Arcade Bar, which features a variety of classic 1980s and 1990s arcade games along with locally-produced beverages and a food menu.

One Up, open in October, is Broad Ripple’s only combination bar and arcade gaming establishment, and owners Michael Martinez and Matt Smith feel the area was in need of such a concept. 

The two met and became friends while working at Bru Burger in Carmel, and, last year, began discussing an arcade bar concept during Xbox gaming sessions.

“We’ve both always been big video game nerds,” says Martinez, a Ball State grad. “I’ve been to arcades and arcade bars all over the state of Indiana and around the country and have always been a fan of the idea of arcades and old-school gaming. I met Matt who always wanted to open a bar, so the two ideas collided.”

Both Broad Ripple fans, Martinez and Smith eventually began searching for the right spot to bring their idea to fruition and in late June secured a space on Broad Ripple Avenue previously occupied by Wild Beaver Saloon.

“We love Broad Ripple, and go to HopCat and Broad Ripple Brewpub a lot,” Smith says. “We love the area and the demographic and thought it would be a perfect spot to be on the strip.”

Renovations were well under way by July, and the owners recruited local artists and designers to apply some distinct 1980s and 1990s-themed flourishes to the interior.

The games themselves will bring many patrons right back to childhood – you’ll find 80s and early 90s classics like Frogger, Mortal Kombat, BurgerTime, Street Fighter, Pac-Man, NBA Jam (the Tournament Edition, mind you) and others lining the interior. And don’t worry about stuffing your pockets with quarters – they’re all free.

“We really wanted to have all original arcade cabinets,” Martinez says. “They’ve gotten rare as they get older and they can be hard to find, but we’ve worked with a couple different vendors – one in Greenwood who has been amazing. We’ve tried to keep everything local, from working with that local vendor, to Gavin, to having local beer on tap.”      

Smith and Martinez installed an eight-tap beer system featuring mostly Indiana craft beers and also offer a wine and liquor selection.

“We drink a lot of Indiana craft beer and there’s so much great stuff there – that’s something we wanted to highlight from the beginning,” Smith says, adding that one of his mentors and sources of inspiration for opening his own bar is his former employer at Fire by the Monon, owner Joe Cominsky. “We want to rotate and keep getting new, fresh things in.”

Smith adds that One Up’s food menu is perfect for those looking for slightly healthier fare than the typical burgers-and-wings bar food.

“It’s a small menu, we have sandwiches and some healthy options,” he says. “We want to be the spot that people hit before hitting some of the other bars and clubs, to get a drink and a small plate and just relax.”

Both owners hope to flourish in the long term at their new home on the strip, and Martinez feels having a fresh, off-beat concept is the key to long-term success in the industry. They plan to feature special events regularly, including trivia nights and multi-player tournaments using a projector and classic gaming consoles like Nintendo 64.

“There’s not much in the way of arcades in Indiana – there’s Tappers Arcade Bar south of Indy, which we both love, but nothing on the northside,” he says. “So we think it’s an exciting time to bring something like this here.”

One Up Arcade Bar is located at 723 Broad Ripple Avenue. Call 317-997-7240 or visit oneuparcadebar.com for more info.

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