With the February 25 opening of Nick Cannon's Wild 'N Out Sports Bar and Arcade, downtown San Diego will have three arcade eatery options all within blocks of each other.
Situated on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Market Street--about a two-minute walk from Wild 'N Out--The Smoking Gun restaurant recently added a video arcade game room.
Don't forget Coin Op Game Room at 789 Sixth Avenue. Since 2017, Coin Op has been serving pizza and cocktails to patrons playing Donkey Kong, Mortal Kombat and Skee-Ball.
Wild 'N Out is a concept developed by Cannon, a television personality who hosts a comedy show of the same name, now in it's 18th season on MTV.
You may recall Cannon from his rap career, hosting America's Got Talent and being the ex-husband of singer Mariah Carey.
The indoor-outdoor entertainment and dining space will include a variety of arcade games, virtual reality experiences and video games.
Wild 'N Out is promising nightly specials, including Industry Mondays, when guests in the hospitality industry get 50 percent of all drinks and can play all arcade games for free.
From the kitchen, expect an "elevated sports bar menu" featuring lobster rolls, skirt steak and potatoes and popcorn shrimp dusted with Old Bay Seasoning.
Like Coin Op, The Smoking Gun also opened in 2017, but as a restaurant. Traditional bar games like pool and table shuffleboard were originally offered to patrons.
To enhance the good-times atmosphere, The Smoking Gun's arcade opened in early February. It's all-black décor is illuminated by neon lighting. Offerings include air hockey, basketball, driving games, and old faves like Pacman and Galaga.
With garage-style window and indoor-outdoor seating, The Smoking Gun has always exuded a sense of fun. Look for cardboard cutouts of Fabio or David Hasselhoff at the eatery's entrance.
During the darkest days of COVID, when downtowners would step outside and bang pots and pans in honor of front-line workers, The Smoking Gun went a step beyond. At 8 p.m., the eatery would blare Aerosmith's "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" (from 1998 disaster film Armageddon).
The original Coin Op launched in North Park in 2013 and has since expanded to San Francisco, Sacramento and Temecula.
The downtown San Diego location is larger than the original. The Sixth Avenue spot is 7,180 square feet and has more than 50 games.
Old-school and with a retro feel, Coin Op's games are the main draw. Food and drink are not an afterthought, but the menu is nothing fancy.
There are dozens of craft beers on tap, and Happy Hour runs from 4 to 7 p.m. on weekdays.
In downtown San Diego, with three arcades within three blocks of each other, it's game time. SDSun
COVER PHOTO: Pacman game. (Getty Images)