A neon sign marked “Flynn’s” graces the second-floor bar at Coin-Op Game Room, SoMa’s new arcade and event space. If that name rings a bell, it’s because it’s a reference to the arcade run by Jeff Bridges in Tron.
At more than 10,000 square feet, with swank couches, restrooms wallpapered in Simpsons and Ninja Turtles characters and a large, winch-like device left over from the space’s original incarnation as a steel mill, it’s much spiffier than, say, Brewcade in the Castro. (Throw in the location near Marlowe, the Hotel Utah, a lot of tech offices, and you’ll realize that this joint is probably going to be closed for a lot of corporate events once things get rolling.) But apart from having Street Fighter, Pac-Man, Walking Dead pinball, and Asteroids, the San Diego chain Sporting Fraternity, Inc.’s S.F. flagship has genuine style even if you’re not a big gamer. Overlooking the Octagon Bar below, for instance, a vitrine lined with G.I. Joe figures in various yoga poses runs the entire length of the upstairs balcony. (Warrior Two, indeed.)
As is to be expected, the cocktails are stiff, and the kitchen will churn out highbrow pub food, like chicken-and-waffles and wood-fired pizzas for two, four, six, or eight people. If you gorged a little too hard, you can work it off shooting hoops at the two “pop a shot” basketball “courts.” All the arcade games will rotate out every month, and upstairs in back there’s a speakeasy called The Grid that happens to have Star Wars tiki glassware. If you were born between 1970 and 1995, there is something iconic here that will make you very glad for the social acceptability of being a big old kid. Don’t have a cow; do have a cowabunga.
Coin-Op Game Room, 508 Fourth St. No phone; coinopsf.com