Next Level Arcade Bar
If you only vaguely know where this bar is, you can easily walk past it without realising. At least, I managed to when I was checking out stores in the area.
Officially, it’s on Calle Tudescos, but in practice, if you walk up there from Callao, you won’t even see the entrance, as it’s just around the corner. As soon as you reach the plaza, turn around to the right, and you should hopefully see a door with a picture of an arcade machine next to it. Once through the outer door you want to take the door on your left, then head down the stairs.
The general aesthetic is probably best described as ‘dive rock bar’ meets small nightclub. It reminds me of many a place I’ve spent nights in, but my better half wasn’t as keen, feeling it was a little grotty. We both loved the posters of (mostly) 80s movies decorating the walls for that proper retro touch.
The drinks selection is pretty decent, but you should expect nightclub prices. However, all the arcade machines are free, so they’ve got to cover the upkeep somehow, so this is fair enough. It could be argued it’s more of a club than a bar, anyway.
While we’re on the subject, the alcohol licence for the bar is one where (unlike a typical bar) they’re not allowed under-18s, so this isn’t somewhere you can take kids for free video games.
So, what games do they have?
Well, for starters there’s Hyper Bishi Bashi Champ, which is a game for up to three players to compete against each other, with three buttons that you have to press in sequence, or in reaction to something. It’s fun, and I’m not just saying that because I won.
There’s also a dance machine. We didn’t get a chance to play this one, and I wasn’t paying too close attention to it, so I’m not sure what game it was exactly, but it seemed like your classic Dance Dance Revolution sort of thing.
Thirdly, there’s a Crazy Taxi machine, for those who want to learn how to drive a car in a manner similar to how the Spanish park them.
Finally, seven machines running emulators (built using Pandora’s Box 6) complete the selection, each with a vast array of games for you to try out.
All ten of the machines are free so that you can play to your heart’s content. This is great, but it’s also probably the biggest failing of the bar, as once someone is on a machine they can be on it for a long time.
If you like video games and miss the old amusement arcades, I would recommend you give Next Level a visit, but come along at six when they open. That way you’ll be able to get a couple of games in before it starts filling up. Much later than that and you can expect to have to wait to get on a machine.
Open: 18:00-01:00 Tues & Weds, 18:00-02:00 Thurs, 18:00-03:30 Fri & Sat, 18:00-01:00 Sun.
Nearest Metros: Callao (lines 3 & 5), Santo Domingo (line 2).