Coin-Op Game Room: Date Night in San Diego

So there I was, dealing with three kids and their shenanigans when my husband called one afternoon to tell me about a bar downtown called the Coin-Op Game Room that his coworker went to. Honestly…I started drowning him out the minute I heard “bar” and “downtown.” We have three young kids, so “going downtown” isn’t high on our list of priorities.

But then, bits of his descriptions kept coming through, and I could hear his enthusiasm and excitement through his voice; it actually seemed like a cool place for a date night in San Diego!

He was talking about an arcade for adults (but not like Dave and Busters). The Coin-Op Game Room has old-school, “retro,” arcade games like pinball machines, PacMan, Skee Ball, Galaga, and more.

We had a date night coming up, so when he brought it up again, I was all in. We’ve been looking for an alternative to the good ol’ dinner and a movie standby, and this sounded perfect.

A Date Night in San Diego

There are actually two locations in San Diego—one in North Park, and the other (where we went) in the Gaslamp District. They also have two more spots in Cali: in San Francisco and Sacramento). And just in case you’re don’t frequent downtown either, you’ll be happy to know there’s a parking lot around the corner from Coin-Op.

The second we walked in, I knew we made the right choice for a unique date night in San Diego.

Neon lights from the games were all around us, and they had classic movies and TV shows airing on the screens at the bar—Top Gun, Cocktail, vintage sports were on—old school WWF with Macho Man Randy Savage, and even Bob Ross painting a nice scenic view in the background.

Time to Eat!

We skipped dinner the night of our date, so we were hungry. Thankfully, they had local brews on tap and a menu that made our stomach’s growl.

I’m not going to lie; I wasn’t expecting much from their food, only because I figured their claim to fame was having games and a great bar. But the food was good!

The pizza was calling my name (as were the nachos and buffalo cauliflower), and my husband had his eyes set on the chicken sliders. We ended up sharing the food, thank goodness, because that pizza was huge. I’d for sure go back to try the other things on the menu that we passed up. Like their pies…they sounded delicious.

Also, their happy hour from 4-7, Monday through Friday looked AMAZING, and I regretted getting there so late the night we visited.

After we got our drinks (a blueberry vodka mojito for me and a brewski for my husband), we set out to play some games!

And the High Score Goes To…

First of all, can I just say that $10 in quarters goes way further than it did when I was a kid?

We had a blast making our way around the place playing whatever game called to us at the moment.

Since we were there on a random Tuesday night, it wasn’t crowded, which meant we didn’t have to wait to play any games; they were all ours for the taking.

Clearly we need to work on taking action shots of each other in darker places.

I loved all the old-school arcade games…even if I didn’t beat my husband in a single one of them.

It was truly all fun and games.

I loved this unique date night alternative to a dinner and a movie. We laughed a lot and had fun playing against each other, together, and I’m so happy I gave his idea shot.

Find a Coin-Op Game Room near you:

If you’re looking for a date night in San Diego, or in one of their other locations, definitely check this place out.

North Park, San Diego
3926 30th St.,
San Diego, CA 92104

Downtown, San Diego
789 Sixth Ave.,
San Diego, CA 92101

Downtown, Sacramento
908 K St.,
Sacramento, CA 95814

San Francisco
508 4th St.,
San Francisco, CA 94107

Are there any fun adult-only arcades where you live? Have you been to one or would you check it out if you’re near one?


  1. I’ve been to an adult arcade in Columbus, Ohio before! Basically it’s a bar with free old-school arcade games. It was so much fun! My husband absolutely loved it. 🙂

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