Food & dining

A new arcade-themed bar called Versus opens in downtown Boston this week

Some of the food offerings at Versus on Province Street.
Big Night Entertainment Group
Some of the food offerings at Versus on Province Street.

A new arcade-themed bar with a nostalgic ’80s twist is coming to downtown Boston this week.

Versus, which is run by the Big Night Entertainment Group, opens to the public at noon Thursday, according to a statement from the company.

The bar, which is located at 42 Province St. in Downtown Crossing, will feature “retro-modern arcade games” and will offer American pub-style food (think: cheeseburgers, pizza, jumbo pretzels, and tater tots), craft beer and wine, and thematic cocktails.

Big Night Entertainment Group

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The 3,000-square-foot space has a 241-person capacity, and there are three separate rooms encased in an open floor plan, a representative for BNEG said.

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The more than 30 arcade games include a vintage “Ms. Pac Man,” “Mortal Kombat,” “Frogger,” “Donkey Kong Jr.,” “Buck Hunter,” various pinball games, and Skee-Ball. There will also be cornhole stations, shuffleboard tables, giant Connect 4, tabletop Jenga, air hockey, car-driving games, and Xbox and PlayStation consoles connected to TVs behind the bar (which anyone can sidle up to and play).

However, that all comes with a cost. While the games themselves will be free to play, the bar will charge a cover — likely around $5 during the day and $10 at night, a representative said.

There are currently no time limits in place for the games, but managers might impose them in the future as they see fit, the representative said.

The setting is described by managers as “high-energy,” with pop art murals from local artist Dirty Dek decorating the space. The bar will also have “LED televisions, a Funktion One sound system, and design elements inspired by 80’s pop culture,” the company said. (In other words: Expect lots of bright lights and neon.)

Courtesy of Big Night Entertainment Group

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The bar itself will be fully stocked, with draft beer running $5 to $8, cans costing $4 and up, and bottles priced around $6 to $7. Glasses of wine are available for $10 to $12, and bottles can be bought starting at $38. There will also be large format “multi-player” cocktails — commonly referred to as fishbowls in other establishments — that are served out of vintage ’80s cookie jars or souvenir game cartridges for $65.

Versus is replacing Gem, a BNEG-run nightclub that management decided to close and repurpose into the arcade-themed bar.

BNEG runs Boston-based bars, clubs, and restaurants like The Grand, Empire, Red Lantern, and Scorpion Bar. It also runs several clubs and restaurants at Foxwoods in Connecticut.

Big Night Entertainment Group

Big Night Entertainment Group

Big Night Entertainment Group

Big Night Entertainment Group


Globe correspondent Kara Baskin contributed to this report.