Come to BITBAR for a Tasty Meal and All the Classic Games you Remember Most

My brother Ryan turned 13 this past Thursday and he wanted to get together with a couple friends to celebrate.  After discovering the BITBAR, a restaurant/bar/arcade in Salem that has a large selection of classic games including pinball, he knew he wanted to celebrate there.  It’s a great place to celebrate your birthday.

Until 8PM when Bit Bar becomes an adults-only establishment, it is a great family-friendly classic arcade with nice outdoor seating, delicious food, and all the classic games you could ask for.  BITBAR is dedicated to offering all of the classic games people remember playing and enjoying.  They rotate in games frequently to satisfy all audiences.  Currently, they have 7 pinball games and 28 other video games according to the website.  Anyone can request new games and they will consider it the next time they rotate in games.  In addition, they have a GameCube there with many of its best games, including Mario Kart Double Dash, just one of many Mario Kart favorites.  Most of the games are still just a quarter to play, and the GameCube can be played for free.

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Facing off in Mario Kart Double Dash on BITBAR’s free play Nintendo GameCube with my brother Ryan (far left) and his friends

I really enjoyed the celebration as well, and its not just because of how cool the Salem downtown area is.  The BITBAR had a lot for me to enjoy.  They offer a wide range of food options which is great for a picky eater like me.  I really liked the chicken tenders and fries, which are offered in both kids sizes and adult sizes.  My brother also liked the chicken tenders and his friends ordered the kids cheese pizza.  The kids meals come with free drinks with unlimited refills and also free game tokens so that was an extra bonus for us. 

I chose the kids size chicken so I had room for a couple of their many tasty appetizer choices.  They even sell Tetris shaped tater tots.  We decided to order Bavarian pretzels and nachos, both of which we enjoyed. 

They have a lot of gluten free options as well, which is one reason why my brother who has Celiac disease, likes the BITBAR so much.  Since he got diagnosed, he has not found any places that can give him food he can safely eat and the video games he loves to play.  They also offer a lot of cocktails which my parents had as we ate outside.

After we ate, we had a lot of fun inside as well.  They usually have a sports event on TV at the bar, whether it be soccer, Summer League basketball, or a Patriots game.  They also have a couple of classic sports games.  I battled against my dad in NFL Blitz.  He has been playing longer, so he usually beats me, but at BITBAR, I came closer to victory than ever before.

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Me after taking my dad on in NFL Blitz

Although I did not get the chance to play it, they also had an NBA game.  We were having a lot of fun already between NFL Blitz, Ms. Pac-Man, and Star Trek pinball.

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In front of the NBA Midway game and some Summer League action

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In the meantime, my brother and his friends had such a good time that we ended up staying for nearly five hours, almost all the way up until 8:00 PM.  Ever since my brother discovered the BITBAR for the first time when it had recently opened, I had wanted to check it out.  It exceeded my expectations with delicious food and classic games that even I enjoyed, and I’m not even that big of a gamer.  I would definitely go back as it was worth the long drive from the Metrowest.

 

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Race to the APEX For Non-Stop Entertainment

 

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A huge plaza known as the APEX Center of New England recently opened in Marlborough, Massachusetts.  It is located on US-20, near Exit 24 on I-495.  One of the best parts of this new plaza is the APEX Entertainment Center, which just opened its three-story, quarter-mile long, go-karting track this week.

APEX Entertainment also includes these attractions:

  • A huge arcade, including a mix of classic and modern arcade games
  • A bowling alley (with 30 lanes) that includes both 10-pin bowling and a New England favorite, Candlepin bowling.  At the end of each lane above the pins are huge TV screens to watch current sports events
  • A ropes course above the arcade with a view of the go-kart track
  • Several sports simulation machines
  • An American Bar and Restaurant named the Pit Stop Tavern, also with a great view of both the go-karting track and the bowling alley
  • A Boston themed laser tag arena, complete with a 3-story model of the Prudential Center
  • Bumper cars

If you’re interested in more formal dining, the 110 Grill is a few doors down in the same plaza.  The management at APEX Entertainment provided me with an all-access tour and gave me the opportunity to try out the go-karts and the bumper cars.  My dad, my brother and I were greeted by Sherie Gaw, one of the managers at APEX Entertainment.

She showed us the sports simulators first.  Not only can you play virtual baseball, football, basketball, golf, and soccer, but you can also play other games such as zombie dodgeball.  They even have a carnival simulator.

Next, she took us to one of her favorite spots, where we could get a great view of the bowling alley and the movie-screen sized TVs. From where we were standing, we could see all 30 bowling lanes, some of which are candlepin lanes.  In addition, they have a special feature in some of the 10-pin lanes called Angry Birds bowling.  For dedicated bowlers, they will have leagues starting this summer.

The APEX is also a great place to watch sports.  Their bowling alley includes several huge TVs, and there are many more TVs around the Pit Stop Tavern and the bowling alley.  We had a great time when we came there to watch Week 17’s match-up between the Patriots and Jets, the game that secured home-field advantage for New England.

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My dad and I bowling and watching the game

On our way to the go-kart track, we walked by the classic section of the arcade, which included 1999 NFL Blitz and a vintage hockey game.

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After that, we headed right to the go-kart track, known as the IC Federal Credit Union Speedway.

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Me in front of the logo for the go-kart track

Nobody was racing yet when we got there, so Sherie took us on a walk around the track.  It was the longest, most interesting go-kart track I had ever seen!  The track is a quarter of a mile long.  Sherie led us through one lap in the direction that the go-karts are supposed to go.  I even got a picture in the special 110 Grill go-kart after!

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Next up, we walked through the part of the arcade filled with lots of new arcade games.  Next to the arcade were the bumpers cars. There are six bumper cars and my dad, my brother, Sherie, 2 other APEX employees and I filled the arena and had some fun-filled bumping action.

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Once the go-karts opened for the afternoon, we registered ourselves and the three of us had the whole track to ourselves as they had just opened.  We put on head-socks and sized ourselves for helmets, and soon enough, we were in the go-karts and ready to race.  The maximum speed for the go-karts was 40 mph, but we went around 20 mph.  Although I wasn’t going at full speed, it was the best go-kart ride of my life!

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Me after I got all geared up to race

My favorite part is where you go down to the lowest part of the track, through a tunnel, and right back up.  Soon after that, you can make a hairpin turn that leads you up to the highest part.  On your way back down, they say you can even get some air if you’re driving at top speed.

In my fastest lap, I went at a speed of 19.5 mph, finishing the lap in 46.3 seconds.  My dad won the race, going 20.5 mph in his fastest lap, which he finished in 44 seconds.  I came in second, just ahead of my brother, who went at a speed of 17.75 mph during his fastest lap, which took about 51 seconds.  You can get your race results using an app called “Activity Box.”  To log in, just ask to view your license at the go-kart registration desk.

After the race, we went upstairs to play arcade games and cool off with a refreshing iced beverage from the Pit Stop Tavern.  My dad and I faced off in NFL Blitz.  He played as the Patriots and I played as the Eagles.  Although I was upset that he beat me 31-3, I was also happy that the Patriots won as we were simulating this year’s Super Bowl match-up.

Before I left, I watched a number of racers going at top speed in a very competitive race.  Check out my video of two racing drivers here:

I’d like to thank Sherie Gaw for taking the time to show me a first class APEX experience and Ashley Coffey for setting it up.  If you haven’t visited yet, I recommend that you race to the APEX for non-stop entertainment.

See the APEX Entertainment website here: https://www.apexentertainmentcenter.com

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