Vintage arcade games and gourmet grub. Barcade breaks the mold of your traditional bar, filling the entire space with old school arcade games; Ms. Pacman, Donkey Kong, NASCAR USA. Play all of your old favorites while sipping one of the twenty-five rotating micro-brews.
Barcade found a decade of success in Brooklyn, and decided to expand to the popular Chelsesa neighborhood of Manhattan. Within a week of its opening, the place is packed, attracting the post work crowd looking to wind down with beer and Buck Hunter.
Unlike Barcade Brooklyn, the New York outpost decided serve food. And boy, am I glad they did. They opted to serve classier, more whimsical versions of pub food. Management tasked Chef Lee Kneoppel with creating the menu. He took on the challenge by taking typical bar fare, and giving it a face lift by using locally sourced, high quality products. Ingredients like pork belly, smoked cod and burrata grace the menu. Cheese and meats plates rotate daily based on local produce.
A rotating list of 25 draft beers changes weekly, based on what’s seasonal and what’s hot. Don’t expect to find any beer bottles here, it’s all on tap. There’s also liquor available to those who just don’t enjoy a good brew.
The food selection really impresses, making it difficult to decide. Pork Belly or Grilled Tuna. Scotch Eggs or Beignets. Many of the dishes on the menu are completely unique, making you want to try absolutely everything. You head up to the bar with a laminated menu in hand to order your selection. They hand you a plastic number to put on the table, which allows the servers to find you. My friend, Adam and I decided to maximize our dining experience, sharing two appetizers and two sandwiches. We decided on the Smoked Cod Beignets and Bacon Mac and Cheese to start, followed by the Beer Braised Short Rib Grilled Cheese and a Cheeseburger. Playful twists on classics, and not so classic bar food.
Who doesn’t love a good mac and cheese? And with bacon, it’s an even bigger winner. Barcade sends us back to our childhoods, using playful pasta shells. Underneath the bubbling layer of gooey cheese, a pool of the cheesy mixture sits in each shell. It’s rich, cheesy with a slight crunch from the crispy pieces of bacon found throughout. Slivers of scallion gives a bit of bright, bitterness, a quick relief from the decadent mac and cheese.
Beignets are a variation of fried fritters, light and fluffy, prepared in either sweet or savory methods. At Barcade, this typical New Orleans treat is filled with smoked cod. The fritters are paired with a spicy tartar sauce.
The light fritters have a similar taste and texture to hush puppies with big pieces of smoked cod found throughout. The crisp exterior keeps in the inside warm and moist, releasing the steam when you break the fritter open. Spicy tartar sauce on the side gives a creaminess and subtle heat to the rich beingets. It’s an awesome appetizer.
I am a cheese lover, and nothing is more classic then a grilled cheese sandwich made with the bright yellow American cheese. Barcade takes the traditional sandwich and turns it up a notch by adding shredded Beer Braised Short Ribs.
Sweet and tender short ribs fill the middle of the sandwich. The meat is held in place by the melted, gooey American cheese which sticks to the buttery, toasted sourdough. There’s a chipotle mayo on the side for dipping, but it was a bit too smoky for my liking. The sandwich is just incredible and insanely rich on its own that a condiment doesn’t even seem necessarily. If you love meat and cheese, this sandwich will blow you away.
In the grand scheme of traditional bar food, Barcade serves a really great burger.
The juicy cheeseburger sits on top of a toasted potato bun, with the lettuce and tomato fix-ins sitting on the top bun. We opted to add American cheese, sticking to the classic, but the options are endless. Add a Fried Egg, Beer Cheese, Tomato Glazed Bacon, Feta, Crispy Onions, pretty much anything you can think of can be added, the only question, can you restrain yourself?
Fries on the side are ridiculous, super crispy and slightly salty. Condiments seem unnecessary when fries are this good and crunchy. Similar in taste and flavor to the ones you love from McDonald’s, they are even better avoiding leaving a greasy residue behind.
Baracde sets a new standard for classic pub fare. Using top notch ingredients, everything is carefully prepared on the well crafted menu. Even with high quality ingredients, the prices remain comparable to any other bar serving less-then comparable food.
You come for the beer, stay for the games, and return for the food.
Barcade – 148 West 24th Street, New York, NY
Location: Chelsea, NY
Perfect For: Neighborhood Hang, Drinks, Cheap Eats, Quick Bite
Reservations: Not Needed
Favorite Dishes: Bacon Mac and Cheese, Beer Braised Short Rib Grilled Cheese, Burger