Arcade games have been a favorite pastime for many teens and adults since their introduction in the early 1900s. By the late 70’s video games rose in popularity and replaced the old fashioned penny games leading to the modern era of arcade centers as we know them today.After a golden decade during the 1980’s when cities like Tokyo boasted hundreds of locales, the concept gradually declined in popularity.
Almost fifteen years later the industry experienced a revival with the opening a bar-arcade establishment called Barcade in New York.Soon after, venues offering games and food started springing all around the world.Nowadays, there are many spots to chose from including Dave and Buster’s that has multiple locations around Southern California.
So what is D&B about?
Dave and Buster’s is a franchise, which started in Texas, back in 1983. Along the way, it bought out competitors and became known a ‘Chuckie Cheese equivalent’ for adults. With a whopping 83 locations and growing, it offers fun options for families seeking dining and entertainment.We got a chance to visit one of their LA locations when we were stuck at LAX. Having never been to a location before we did get somewhat of a cultural shock, but our son LOVED it.
Dave and Buster’s restaurants display their arcade machines in a warehouse-style carpeted building. That’s great since it muffles some of the sounds! But with the machines ringing and buzzing in a cacophony lit by neon lights, parents should be prepared to lose some hearing at least temporarily hearing! On weekends crowds come with the territory so warn everyone in your group.
The food was surprisingly edible!
The restaurant boasts a large menu with surprisingly good options. These options include lettuce wraps, pizzas, wings, burgers, seafood, steak, and even calamari rings.We shared several appetizers and couldn’t even get to the main course. They have plenty of dessert options too, including hot donut bites and a chocolate fondue. For drinks, they serve a wide variety of mixed alcoholic beverages for adults ( think TGIF Friday’s) with fun little touches like strawberry flavored ice cubes. They even boast alcoholic snow cones!
Non-alcoholic options are available too
For those who can’t or don’t wish to drink alcohol, they have plenty of excellent drinks in addition to the regular water and soda. Visitors can get delightful handmade milkshakes, smoothies, slushies, and the unique “grape candy chill” topped with gummy worms!
Let the games begin
Once everyone’s eaten, or maybe even before, everyone can charge up a Power card with “chips” and start playing games. Recently, Dave and Buster’s has begun giving patrons a special RFID wristband, akin to what one might find in DisneyWorld, to use for payments.Kids disappear for an hour or two while playing, and parents will enjoy themselves as well. They offer everything from traditional arcade games to modern games like Mario Kart Arcade DX. They also have bowling lanes and billiards tables at most locations.
At the end of the day, visitors can take the tickets they’ve won at certain games and trade them in at the Winner’s Circle for prizes, just like Chuckie Cheese. They can also save up their tickets for next time on their Power Card.
Admission, Location, and Hours
There is no admission cost for entering a Dave and Buster’s; all costs are paid either for games or food. Nothing needs to be prepaid, and visitors can buy everything they want on the site. Buying a new Power card costs only two dollars, and parents can pay to add chips in a range from ten dollars to one hundred dollars at a time.
Autism Travel Tips:
- Dave and Buster’s does get dark inside, much more so than Chuckie Cheese. Parents should tell their kids to be aware of their surroundings and not to be alone or go with strangers.
- Sensory overload is an understatement at these locations. Dave and Buster’s sites feature neon and strobe lighting, music, and the loud noises of the machines themselves. Often one can’t even hear other people over the sound of the games. Parents should keep this in mind if their child is sensitive to sounds or lights.
- Dave and Buster’s often hosts parties, which means crowds. Therefore, it’s best to go either early in the day or late in the evening. Weekends are also very crowded, so it’s best for parents to go on a weekday.
- Hand wipes and sanitizer are a necessity at these locations. Kids and parents will touch a lot of things that others felt throughout the entire day.
- Alcohol is cheap, and some people might be buzzed. Parents should keep this in mind and bring up any concerns about other patrons to the staff.
- Dave and Buster’s keeps their bathrooms incredibly clean.
- There are places for parents and kids to rest and relax away from sensory overload in the food areas.
- Dave and Buster’s always have deals on their website, such as half price games on certain days or sixty minutes of games for ten dollars at specified times.
Have you ever visited a Dave and Buster’s location? How did you like it?