5 Iowa Bar Arcades

Relive childhood dreams with the help of Pac-Man, throwback music and cocktails as sweet as candy. Fun-filled Iowa bar arcades are serving out sentimental memories and smiles all around.

Here are our top five spots to check out:



Now is the time to start saving your quarters; Backpocket in Dubuque has all of the nostalgic arcade games that you’ve been reminiscing about. Inside the arcade, you’ll be greeted with Mario Kart and Guitar Hero, and probably other hidden gems that you may have forgotten about. You can’t beat the classics, but you can take a chance on a table game like billiards or outdoor foosball. If you find yourself needing a break from the action, there’s never a bad time to visit the bar. Whether you’re into pomegranate mules, wine or craft beers, the bar will have you feeling like a kid in a candy shop. While browsing the selections, be sure to check out the Gold Coin Lager for some good luck! In addition to beverages, you can also expect legendary mac and cheeses topped with buffalo chicken, Korean steak or bacon. But be sure to save some energy for round two the following morning at Sunday brunch. Backpocket’s beast of a brunch comes complete with all-you-can-eat waffles, pastries and parfaits, paired with bottomless mimosas and a Bloody Mary bar. For more information, visit backpocketdubuque.com.

Up Down Arcade Bar

Up Down Arcade Bar

Des Moines

Just like its arcade games, Up Down Arcade Bar is full of twists, turns and surprises. Except this Iowa arcade bar is known for its ever-changing lineups of games, brews and bites. The extensive game collection boasts more than 60 machines straight out of the 80’s and 90’s, various vintage Skee-Ball lanes and a life-sized Connect Four. But the nostalgia doesn’t end there; many of the signature cocktails are elevated with retro flair. And with a whopping 20 beers on tap, the bar knows no bounds. You can sip on a Surly Coffee Bender, an ale infused with intense coffee aromas, resulting in a cold, creamy cappuccino. Or better yet, indulge in a pint of the Tallgrass Key Lime Pie, a sour ale brewed with lime peel to give it that dreamy, sweet-tart taste. And if you want to keep things tropical, you can’t go wrong with ordering a Hawaiian pizza while you’re at it. Whatever you decide on, Up Down Arcade Bar will have you feeling like you’ve hit the jackpot. For more information, visit updownarcadebar.com.

Quarter Barrel

Cedar Rapids

You can’t be a sore loser at a bar that serves stellar pizza, brews hand-crafted beer and is loaded with pinball machines. With over 40 games to play, Quarter Barrel brings you back to the 80’s, the golden age of arcade. From Donkey Kong to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, you can play as all of your favorite characters. You also can’t miss out the old-school pinball tables with themes like Batman Forever and Ghostbusters. But what’s an Iowa bar arcade without the beer? Luckily, the bar at Quarter Barrel offers over 20 different beers, a majority of them made on-site. Go for the Colorama, a green tea and kiwi-infused hard seltzer, if you’re feeling adventurous. But if you’re set on staying true to the classics, test out the Kid Gloves, a traditional Witbier with a combination of grapefruit zest and blood orange. And the night can’t be over without ordering one of Quarter Barrel’s unique farm-to-table pizzas. As the punny name suggests, The Mario is a must-try twist on a margherita pizza. And if you’d prefer your Mario pizza with a mustache, be sure to ask for a drizzle of balsamic for the finishing touch! For more information, visit thequarterbarrel.com.

Analog Arcade Bar

Analog Arcade Bar


Get ready to kick back, relax and make memories. Analog Arcade Bar brings new life to vintage arcade games for even more generations to fall in love with. You can explore the world of Stranger Things or visit Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Featuring both vintage and modern-inspired games, the arcade combines the best of both worlds. In addition, adult-friendly games like beer pong and pop-a-shot effortlessly create an entertaining and laughter-filled bar scene. Behind the bar, some current fall flavors on tap include Clyde’s Caramel Cream Ale and Voodoo Ranger’s Atomic Pumpkin. Also known for crazy cocktails, Analog Arcade Bar mixes up Jolly Rancher and Pink Starburst shots. From start to finish, guests can experience a blast from the past at this Iowa arcade bar. For more information, visit analogarcadebar.com.


Des Moines

A more contemporary take on the old-school arcade, Ricochet is a hotspot for socializing and sipping beneath neon lights. This innovative Iowa bar arcade embraces the Moscow mule wholeheartedly, and then turns it upside down with infusions of cherry, cucumber, raspberry and more. But if you’re more of a whiskey or tequila fan, have no fear, because the bar is loaded with everything imaginable. Likewise, the arcade itself has no shortage of entertainment. There are plenty of free games like bubble hockey, foosball and Skee-Ball. You can also take a gamble on premium paid games. After all, there’s no reward without a little bit of risk. So challenge your friends to a match on one of the Olympic-sized ping-pong tables. Or try something new and look into Rico-hammer, Ricochet’s modernized version of a German game where players try to hammer a nail into a stump. For more information, visit ricochetdsm.com.

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