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Adult beverages and childlike amusements

Special to The Times

IN his classic “On the Road,” Jack Kerouac wrote: “The ideal bar doesn’t exist in America.” It can be assumed that Kerouac had never been to Miss T’s Barcade, a triumphant entrant into Koreatown’s storied pantheon of drinking establishments. If he had, he might have rethought this position.

The name “Barcade” sums it up -- this hidden-away spot, unmarked by any outside signage, marries vintage arcade with a bar. The result is a veritable playground of alcohol and video game reminiscence, minus any Hollywood pretension.

Barcade began as a weekly underground event located in a K-Town walk-up. After shutting down last year, co-owners Ricky G and Miss T reopened last November in their new Western Avenue location.

“I was always into video games,” says G, as evidenced by the bar’s wide assortment. The joys of Atari and Nintendo past lurk within the darkened confines of the back rooms at Barcade. If it’s been a while since you’ve flexed your thumbs at Joust or honed your hand-eye coordination with Galaga, you needn’t wait any longer -- and here you can ply yourself with alcohol and enjoy the sounds of a live DJ. In keeping with the vintage atmosphere, all games cost a measly 25 cents, just as they would have in their heyday.

Barcade’s throwback theme is furthered by the ‘80s-kitsch posters on the walls and a He-Man exhibit behind the bar. “It reminds a certain age group of their youth,” G explains. “You can be [at Barcade] as an adult but hang out and play video games from when you were a kid.”

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On a recent bustling evening, the beeping of the old-school games commingled with the kitschy tunes spun by a DJ and the patter of patrons nursing their Pabst Blue Ribbons. At two bucks a can, PBR is hard to resist, although the selection includes Bud, Corona and Guinness, and wine (no hard liquor, though). Cheap food items are available, such as Super Ramen for $6. But the real reason to visit Barcade isn’t the snacks; it’s the games.

If Barcade feels more like a rec room than a licensed establishment, well, that’s part of its charm. After three beers and several games of Punch Out!, it’s easy to pretend you’re in a friend’s basement, stealing beers from his dad’s fridge while playing Piston Hurricane. Sure, you can do vodka shots at home while playing Wii. But for those nights that require cheap beer and two-player Rampage, Barcade will be there until the “game over” screen pops up at 2 a.m. ... or you run out of quarters.

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Barcade

Where: 371 N. Western Ave., Los Angeles

When: Open 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Grand opening party: Feb. 13

Price: No cover; beer and wine only

Info: (323) 465-5045; www.myspace.com/miss_ts_barcade


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