First Look: Pins Mechanical and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade, Opening Thursday in Ohio City

click to enlarge Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade in Ohio City - DOUGLAS TRATTNER
Douglas Trattner
Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade in Ohio City

A project that was first announced in 2019 is about to reach the finish line. This Thursday, Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade (1880 West 25th St.) in Ohio City will welcome its first guests. It was a long, challenging and expensive endeavor, says Troy Allen, but the results are more than worth it.

“We started demolition in 2020 but put the project on pause with the pandemic,” says Allen, founder of Columbus-based Rise Brands. “This building, structurally, was a nightmare so we had to do a lot to the building.”

Previously home to Daniels Furniture, the sprawling entertainment complex spans 27,000 square feet spread across two floors. A large section of the main floor was removed to offer views to the lower level.

click to enlarge Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade in Ohio City - DOUGLAS TRATTNER
Douglas Trattner
Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade in Ohio City

While the all-ages social destination is one cohesive attraction, it is comprised of two separate venues. Cleveland gamers likely will be familiar with 16-Bit, the classic arcade game emporium that for six years lured nerds to Lakewood. Joining that concept is Pins Mechanical, Rise’s duckpin bowling brand. Cleveland joins other Pins locations in Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Charlotte and Nashville.

“Up here [in Cleveland], 16-Bit has its own brand equity, so it made sense to keep it separate,” Allen says. “For me, both brands side by side always complemented each other. But it’s one experience, one tab and you can go back and forth between the two. It’s just an evolution of where we were.”

Upon arrival, the first stop for gamers should be the Cage, says Allen.

“The Cage is kind of our central point,” he says. “If you want to play duckpin, play Hookie, do bocce ball… any of the games we have, go there, sign up, pay and you’ll get a text message when your game is ready. Everything is first come, first served.”

click to enlarge Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade in Ohio City - DOUGLAS TRATTNER
Douglas Trattner
Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade in Ohio City

The main hall is where you’ll find the Cage, Hookie, bocce ball, one of the three bars and plenty of seating. Connected to the main space is 16-Bit, home to another bar and 50 classic arcade games and pinball machines, all set to free play.

“This is the new design for 16-Bit,” Allen explains. “It’s more spread out, it’s not as dark, it’s more `80s-themed. Two adds that Lakewood didn’t have that people kept asking for is skeeball and our console bars. You can sit down and select Atari, Sega, Nintendo 64 or whatever and go through and pick whatever games you want.”

click to enlarge Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade in Ohio City - DOUGLAS TRATTNER
Douglas Trattner
Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade in Ohio City

The pinball machines have their own niche, dubbed Pinball Alley.

“Pinball players want to hear the game, so we isolate them, but we can also control the lighting and the glare this way,” Allen says.

click to enlarge Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade in Ohio City - DOUGLAS TRATTNER
Douglas Trattner
Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade in Ohio City
Downstairs is the third bar, 12 duckpin bowling lanes, and plenty of comfortable places to sit and chill.

“One of the things with Pins is there are lounge areas everywhere, so even though it’s a big, industrial space, we still want people to come in and stay,” says Allen.

All three bars offer 36 beers on tap as well as `80s-themed cocktails like the Carrie Fisher, Pinball Wizard and Hulk Hogan, which is garnished with a bomb pop.

click to enlarge Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade in Ohio City - DOUGLAS TRATTNER
Douglas Trattner
Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade in Ohio City

What Pins and 16-Bit do not have is a kitchen, so guests are free to bring in or order in food from nearby establishments.

“Our average guest stays two to three hours,” Allen says. “Most bars offer food so you stay there longer and drink more, or it’s all about sports so you stay there longer. With us, we provide all the entertainment, so we don’t need the food."

Pins and 16-Bit are family friendly until 8 p.m., when they switch over to 21 and over.

“Yes, we have bars, but we’re more than that," Allen notes. "You come in here after work or on a weekend and it’s all families. For us, to be able to provide that entertainment – not to mention, we took a huge hole that was here in the furniture store – it is worth doing.”

click to enlarge Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade in Ohio City - DOUGLAS TRATTNER
Douglas Trattner
Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade in Ohio City
click to enlarge Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade in Ohio City - DOUGLAS TRATTNER
Douglas Trattner
Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade in Ohio City
click to enlarge Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade in Ohio City - DOUGLAS TRATTNER
Douglas Trattner
Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade in Ohio City
click to enlarge Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade in Ohio City - DOUGLAS TRATTNER
Douglas Trattner
Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade in Ohio City
click to enlarge Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade in Ohio City - DOUGLAS TRATTNER
Douglas Trattner
Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade in Ohio City

About The Author

Douglas Trattner

For 20 years, Douglas Trattner has worked as a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. His work on Michael Symon's "Carnivore," "5 in 5" and “Fix it With Food” have earned him three New York Times Best-Selling Author honors, while his longstanding role as Scene dining editor garnered the award of “Best...
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