80’s Nostalgia coming to The Burl arcade


The Burl is an old train depot repurposed as a live music venue. It opened July 2016 and hosts both local and national talent of all genres. It is located across from the Distillery District on the corner of Thompson and Manchester. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Dalton Stokes

The Burl, a music and a general entertainment destination in Lexington, has recently announced it is renovating an old building on the venue’s property into a classic game arcade, bringing classics like PacMan, Galaga and Centipede back to life.

After receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from the community following their announcement on Facebook of their new project in early February, The Burl has decided to go all in on creating its newest edition, recently launching a Kickstarter campaign with a goal to raise $25,000 for the project.

“We took a trip to NYC four years ago and went to a ‘barcade’ in Brooklyn,” The Burl Owner Cannon Armstrong said. “Since then I’ve been in love with the idea.”

The retro arcade will be a throwback to traditional 80’s and 90’s arcades and will also feature traditional games such as ping pong and pool tables along with more modern arcade games. According to Armstrong, he’s already secured Pacman, Galaga, Shinobi, World Series Baseball, Centipede and a couple of pinball tables for the expansion. When the arcade is completed, Armstrong hopes to have 40 classic arcade games, a basketball shooting game, skeeball and four player beat ‘em up games such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, X-Men and The Simpson’s.

The addition will also come equipped with a fully stocked bar and a variety of video game themed drinks to match and will be open to anyone 21 with no entry fee. The games will be $0.25 to $0.50 per play.

According to Armstrong, The Burl are looking to close the bar on some days to allow kids and their parents come play in the arcade, adding that it’d be a good opportunity for parents to bond with their children over the same games they grew up on, with families navigating across Manchester St. afterward for ice cream at Crank & Boom or pizza at Goodfellas.

“There is nothing worse than having a bunch of games and not letting kids play them,” Armstrong said.

Aside from the arcade, Armstrong says The Burl is also prepping to experiment with outdoor shows this summer on the venue’s back porch, with a test run occurring during April 8’s Beaux Arts Ball. Armstrong hopes to hold three to six outdoor concerts per year during the spring, summer and fall, and plans on renting out larger-scale stage equipment for the show to help bring in more big-name acts.

“Our back-porch beer garden and amphitheater style is something similar to what happens with joints in Austin, Texas,” Armstrong said.

Per Armstrong, gamers and music fans alike can expect the nostalgic arcade with a modern twist to be open by The Burl’s one-year anniversary on July 22.