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Arcade bar opens in Metro East

A Florissant native and ex-Boeing employee opened Loading Bar in Edwardsville, which bills itself as "a gaming and pop culture themed escape."
Credit: Loading Bar
Loading Bar, an arcade bar located at 6185 Bennett Dr., Suite C, in Edwardsville, opened in April.

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — Arcade bars have become increasingly popular over the last few years, and while several have opened in the St. Louis area, the concept hadn't taken hold in Metro East.

For example, a now-shuttered arcade bar, Unkle Munkey's Coin Club in Edwardsville, had been open about a year and a half before closing in 2015 when its owners decided to expand their neighboring restaurant.

But in April this year, Ryan Wilson, a Florissant native and ex-Boeing employee, opened Loading Bar in Edwardsville, which bills itself as "a gaming and pop culture themed escape."

Loading Bar is located at 6185 Bennett Drive, Suite C. Wilson is leasing the space, which is owned by an entity affiliated with Highland, Illinois-based Plocher Construction.

The bar features a variety of arcade games and serves a selection of 68 beer varieties, many of which are local, according to Wilson.

He said he hopes Loading Bar will be the kind of place where "something is always going on." Movie nights will be planned regularly as well as arcade or video game console tournaments.

"We want to foster community and have the bar be an active part of it," Wilson said.

A first-time business owner, he financed the project with loans from the Bank of Madison County, which is a subsidiary of the Bank of Belleville, as well as personal funds.

He said he had been contemplating opening an arcade bar for about 10 years or so, when “the idea of a bar-arcade combo wasn’t as prevalent," and decided in February last year to begin working to open Loading Bar. Formerly a project manager at Boeing, he said when he was laid off during the pandemic, he and his fiancé decided to start looking at spaces to lease and arcade games to purchase.

Read the full story on the St. Louis Business Journal website.

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