New bar asks patrons to press pause and unwind

(arts) ultra arcade (kevin femmel)

Looking for a place to relax, forget about your studies and just be a kid again? Ultra Arcade on Blanco Road could be the venue you have been looking for. The “bar-cade,” a bar that serves alcoholic drinks while doubling as a video game arcade, had its grand opening this past weekend. It mixes the social atmosphere of a normal bar with competitive and casual video games, while creating an environment that is fun for all.

Owner Brandon Alexander says that they opened Ultra Arcade in the hopes that it would give adults, who spent their childhoods playing video games with friends at arcades, a chance to relive those days since the traditional arcade scene has died out in the United States.

“The business is a labor of love,” as Alexander says he isn’t concerned about making a lot of profit. He wants to give back to the community by providing a fun place to kick back. Alexander is no stranger to the video game industry. He has worked on acclaimed video games like “Killer Instinct,” and was the product manager for 2013’s DC Comics fighting game “Injustice: Gods Among Us.”

Alexander encourages San Antonio college students to come by Ultra Arcade to put their worries aside. “We do support UTSA,” says Alexander. “We support all local college students and plan on offering student discounts as well.”

The venue offers plenty of seating and free Wi-Fi, so that people can come and get work done if they so desire.This makes Ultra Arcade a potential alternative to Starbucks or libraries as a public place to study or get work done for students. It trades the lattes for alcohol and provides entertainment for small study breaks like none other.

There is also a wide selection of beer, and at the low price of $1.50 each, it is definitely a price that is hard to beat. However, Alexander says they are not planning to offer liquor-based drinks.

Ultra Arcade’s grand opening was a sight to behold, as hundreds of people showed up. The police stopped by due to the sheer number of cars in the surrounding area creating traffic problems. It wasn’t just about fun; Ultra Arcade also played host to a cosplay contest and will have regularly scheduled costume-themed events in the future. All video games were free to play for the store’s grand opening, but will normally cost $3 to $5 for an all-day pass for any game in the bar.

San Antonio doesn’t have an establishment quite like this. Ultra Arcade is aiming to make their entertainment very affordable and offers a wide range of games to play, from Microsoft’s popular first person shooter franchise “Halo” to classic fighting games like “Marvel vs Capcom.”

Ultra Arcade is located at 5945 Blanco Road and is open seven days a week from noon to 2 a.m. for those looking for a new way to relax outside of work and school.

For more information on Ultra Arcade, visit their Facebook page at