Davenport, IA 52801
About Analog Arcade Bar
Operating since: 2015
More About Analog Arcade Bar
Opening Fall 2015! Analog is the Quad Cities Arcade Bar. Expect everything from Donkey Kong and X-Men to Pinball, Skeeball, and craft/local brews.
Davenport businessmen Dan Bush and Kyle Carter believe they have hit on a winning combination — a new destination that combines the childhood fun of an arcade with a bar atmosphere.
The pair are moving ahead with plans to open Analog, an arcade bar, this fall on the ground floor of a century-old bank building at the northwest corner of 3rd and Brady streets in downtown Davenport.
Renovations are about to begin in what once was Schneff's Jewelers. With a spacious, 5,500 square-foot floorplan, Analog will have more than 50 arcade games surrounding a horseshoe bar and bar seating.
"People who are familiar with the concept think it's exciting," said Bush, who also owns five Jimmy John's restaurants, including one at Bettendorf's Duck Creek, two in Davenport, and one each in Rock Island and Muscatine. "For people who are not familiar with it and are learning about it, it's doubly exciting."
The men envision crowds of gamers playing some of their favorites from years past, such as pinball, Donkey Kong, Ms. Pac-Man, BurgerTime, Street Fighter II, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and NBA Jam. And, of course, what would an arcade be without Pong? Bush said they have acquired about 23 games and are working on locating a couple dozen more that span 1970s to the heyday 1980s and up to present day.
Analog is an idea that has been bouncing around in Carter's head since his college days and a concept that Bush independently had penned a business plan for before the two met and joined forces last fall. Arcade bars also are a trend beginning to sweep the nation, with as many as eight having opened in Chicago.
"I love this stuff," said Carter, who has a collection of vintage arcade games at his home. "When I have friends come over to my house and they are playing the games, the noise, the life and the energy raises the hair on the back of my neck. To be able to upscale to this is going to feel like a million bucks."
Carter, executive director of the Downtown Davenport Partnership, said he wants to share his passion for the classic arcade games with the public. He added that they looked at several locations across the Quad-Cities before finding a historic building that "had been hiding in plain sight."
The ground floor of the three-story building, which is owned by Thad Denhartog of TR Holdings, has sat mostly empty since Scheff's closed in January 2004. Plans for a Palmer College of Chiropractic museum ultimately changed when Palmer decided to have it on campus.
Carter, whose work is promoting development in downtown, said the business venture "gives me an opportunity to put my money where my mouth is in my day job. It's a risk, it's a loan. But we believe in the concept and I think the Quad-Cities is begging for this concept."
As part of their research, they visited arcade bars in Chicago, Des Moines and Omaha, including the Emporium Arcade Bar in Chicago, which Carter believes was first of its kind in the Midwest when it opened a few years ago. Another one is in the works in Cedar Rapids.
"We wanted to be sure the Quad-Cities got in on this," Carter said. "There has been an attitude that we are not good enough to get good things here or we are always 10 years behind others but I think that's not true anymore. We're proud to be on the front end of this."
Devon Weise is their operating partner. Analog will employ 20 people. The bar will sell mostly craft beers, including some local favorites, but will partner with other area restaurants to offer food.
Bush admits the idea "is not going to cater to everybody." In fact, he originally worried it would just be filled with "a bunch of 35-year-old men." But after visiting the other arcade bars, they found they are attracting a diverse crowd including in age and gender. "The span of interest is all over the board. Each group will come there for the thing they played (when they were younger)."
The business partners, who are leasing the space, plan to retain much of the building's original decor and charm, including a marble wall surrounding two vaults, original tile flooring and other architectural features. Built in 1918 as Scott County Savings Bank, less than a decade later it became the headquarters of First Trust and Savings Bank, a predecessor of U.S. Bank. One of the original conference rooms — complete with ornate wood panels — will be used as a private party room. The vaults will have arcade games in them, Carter said.
"We want to modernize it, but we want to give it an art-deco feel," Bush said, adding that they hope Analog will be open by Halloween.