New arcade bar set to open in downtown Flint in 2019

FLINT, Michigan — Downtown Flint’s getting an old school arcade — WITH A BAR. Set to open in 2019, this arcade bar taps into a trend started in 2004 with the original Barcade in Brooklyn, New York.
Flint’s version is finding a home in the Capitol Theatre, taking up the two suites closest to Brush Alley along Second Street in downtown Flint. The 2,600-square-foot space in the theatre’s northwest corner includes a mezzanine overlooking the main space.
The arcade bar enters an already hopping booze scene in downtown Flint. No fewer than seven bars have opened downtown since the revitalization began 15 years ago — adding to several well-established mainstays including the Torch, Churchill’s, and The Loft.
Owned by husband-wife team Spencer Ruegsegger and Kristy Bearse, the bar is their first foray into entrepreneurship but both have been active downtown for years. They plan to name their business The Eberson — in honor of John Eberson, the original architect of the Capitol Theatre. Bearse gives special credit to downtown businessman Phil Shaltz, who invested in their dream to own their own business and make The Eberson possible.

“Being a downtown person for so long, you realize how big of a deal the theatre is,” Ruegsegger said. “There’s a nice space here with thousands of people going by every weekend. It’s kind of a no brainer. … I’ve worked in restaurant industry my whole career. This is something I’ve always wanted to do.”

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This new bar is unique though because it’s a more hands on affair — designed for those who want a more active experience while enjoying their adult beverage.
“It’s basically going to be vintage arcade games. It’s all the stuff that when we were younger, we played and kind of forgot about,” Ruegsegger said.
The space will feature a modern, industrial design with clean lines and a welcoming atmosphere. Ruegsegger plans for there to be a heavily rotated list of beers with a wide variety of 10 to 12 craft options. There will also be cocktails and classic beers available too. The menu will feature a limited selection of snacks.
“We’ll have something for everybody,” he said. “We’re pretty friendly to all walks of life.”
Ruegsegger plans for the bar to be open Tuesday through Saturday, opening in time for happy hour. It will be an adult bar, but the owners are considering special days or events to allow minors and families in on the arcade fun.
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Read more articles by Marjory Raymer.