Downtown visitors will soon have another way to spend their quarters beyond feeding the parking meters.
Owners of Cobra Arcade Bar in Phoenix, a popular spot dedicated to the classic arcade games of days gone by, plan to open a second location in Tucson, at 63 E. Congress, this summer.
The venue, which will hold court in the old home of JunXion Bar at Congress and North Scott Avenue, will feature around 50 arcade games and pinball machines spread across two levels and 5,000 square feet of space.
“Opening in Tucson is like a dream come true for me,” said Cobra founder and co-owner Ariel Bracamonte. “I was born in Tucson. I have family there. Tucson has a really good feel to it. The minute I opened Phoenix, I wanted to do Tucson.”
Among the game offerings, according to Cobra’s regional manager Topher Bray, will be well-known titles from the 1980s and ’90s, such as Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam, Pac-Man, Galaga and Frogger.
They all come from Bracamonte’s personal supply of more than 300 arcade games, a collection that he’s been amassing since 2011.
"I was raised in Glendale and grew up in arcades," Bracamonte said. "I am not a super serious gamer, but I am obsessed with fixing and restoring them, how they look and function."
Cobra will have a full bar, that will include local beer and spirit options, and a selection of cocktails with names that keep within the theme, like the Blanka, the Garbage Pail Kid and the Crazy Kong, a mix of Jameson Irish whiskey, creme de banana, lemon and ginger beer.
The space, which will cater exclusively to the 21-and-older crowd, will have more of a club atmosphere on the weekends, complete with dancing and local DJ sets, Bray said.
Cobra’s Phoenix location opened in January of 2016, the brainchild of Bracamonte, working with his business partner Chuckie Duff and the restaurant group Genuine Concepts.
Bray said Cobra is following a bigger trend.
“(Arcade bars) have been on the rise in places like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Denver, Oregon,” he said. “We’ve now created this cool market and a really cool brand for the Phoenix area and for Arizona.”
Bracamonte sees the addition of Cobra Arcade Bar to Tucson's downtown as long overdue.
Dave & Buster's, the entertainment chain with more than 100 locations across the United States and in Canada, opened its first Tucson location last year, but on the south side of town.
"(Cobra) is a completely different way of going out," Bracamonte said. "It is a good place to go with a group of people or on your own. I always thought people in Tucson would love it."
Cobra Arcade Bar is tentatively set to launch in early June, Bray said. Its hours will be 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.