FTW – New Chicago “Barcade” Embraces Steampunk

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“Barcades” have become a real hit in Chicago as of late and as of Friday June 5th a new one has opened that takes a bit of a different twist.  Instead of bearded hipsters and retro-arcade games, FTW (For The Win) features state of the art arcades and a much more posh-downtown vibe.

It’s also steampunk themed, and though it’s not necessarily subtle, it’s not over-done either.


Some of the intricate design work

Yes, there are the obligatory images of models in goggles and gear artwork everywhere, but honestly, it’s neither really intrusive nor even cloying.  All in all the design is really quite good and the games range from updated carnival classics to a Star Wars Battle Pod simulator thing that some of the older crowd obviously too old for.  The place has an almost “Bioshock” quality to it, with the entire place being a juxtaposition in neon lights against industrial browns and greys filled out with darkened mirrors.


At “The Payoff” you can exchange ‘digital tickets’ you win from various games for prizes.

On top of this it also features an open air eating and drinking area, replete with a small but varied menu and a generous selection of draft beers and cocktails, including a surprisingly fun (and high ABV) Rock n’ Rye they have on tap.  And for those who want to get a private room, FTW also features just that – steampunked out with floor to ceiling windows over-looking downtown.  Additionally the space will be featuring DJs (under the ‘Chemist’ sign) playing a mixture of everything from rock n’ old pop to electro swing and neo-vaudeville


The private VIP rooms are a nice touch.

But don’t let this talk of booze and DJs make you think this is a strictly adult space though.  It’s open to all ages and even features kids and teenage party packages.  The place is, in many respects, more Dave & Busters than Emporium Arcade.


The DJ booth

Speaking of, it is downtown, and if you’re going to attend have some spending money.  The $25 package gets you about 4k points (points are what you use in lieu of quarters or tokens) and that can get you quite a bit of playtime (about 2.5 worth).  Doubly, you also get points in which you can spend on anything from candy to giant mustache pillows and, yes, even goggles.


The design is pretty overt but not necessarily over the top.

FTW is a lot of fun, and it has something for everyone.  Might it be a mini golf, car racing, shoot em ups or just good old basketball.  The staff is nice and personable and the over-all space is a lot of fun to just walk around.  FTW is nice for a nice evening or weekend afternoon any day, as it’s fun for couples, groups of friends of families.  And if you feel like dressing up all steampunk-like, you won’t feel out of place.


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