With some Ukrop money in tow, three Richmond restaurateurs have inked a deal for a new beer and video game-fueled entertainment venue on West Broad Street.
Comfort and Pasture co-owners Jason Alley and Michele Jones, along with Saison owner Jay Bayer, are teaming up to open Bingo, a venture that will combine a bar, arcade, restaurant and brewery under one roof in, fittingly, a former bingo hall at 2900 W. Broad St. on the southern border of Scott’s Addition.
“We’ve been thinking of this concept together for years,” Bayer said. “We just wanted to find the right place in the neighborhood to introduce it.”
The partnership, which also includes local businessman Ted Ukrop, have signed a lease for the 13,000-square-foot building, which is owned by Hudson Century LLC.
Hudson Century is led by Charles Bice of Richmond-based KB Building Service and Birck Turnbull of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer. They purchased the property in February for $1.2 million, according to city records.
Martin Blum, a broker with Colliers International, handled the lease and oversaw the sale of the property to Hudson Century.
With lease in hand, the new tenants plan to invest about $1 million to renovate and outfit the space for Bingo. They’ll plan to open during the fourth quarter 2017, or early 2018, Alley said.
Once open, the group hopes to turn the space into a hangout full of games, activities and food that make it seem as if the patron is in their childhood living room working a level-200 video game.
“The goal is to enjoy a good beer or some food in one hand, while playing with your joystick in the other,” Alley joked. “We want it to be a place where there is something for everyone to enjoy.”
Bingo plans to bring out all the classics, including video games such as the Funhouse Pinball machine, Mortal Kombat, Donkey Kong and Street Fighter. The group also plans to host Skee ball teams and tournaments, and is considering including Atari games.
For the brewery, plans call for a 15-barrel system to be installed in the space, where Bayer said beers will be manufactured and distributed from the site.
“We’re going to hire a brew master that will handle the brewing program,” Bayer said. “We’re not going to be a place that is hung up on one type of beer … we’re going to have all kinds of beer like saisons, farmhouse ales and IPAs.”
Bayer said Bingo will keep its most popular beers on tap, eventually selling them by the can on site and elsewhere across the city. He added Bingo will also serve other craft beers and wine.
The space will include 4,000 square feet of outdoor patio space, where Alley said the group plans to set up a grill and bar area, as well as congregation spaces.
“Think of it like a house almost,” Bayer said. “You leave the living room to go outdoors to play some more … that’s the kind of place we want Bingo to be.”
The menu will include traditional bar food, Alley said, but with his flare added to the mix.
“We’re going to have an in-house sausage program,” Alley said. “We’re going to make everything from scratch and use a few items that you find at the fair, like cotton candy and funnel cake.”
Bingo won’t be without competition.
Another bar-arcade is in the works at 3121 W. Leigh St., and a new bowling alley soon will take shape at 939 Myers St. next to the Cookie Factory Lofts. That’s not to mention the handful of breweries, cideries and distilleries already in the neighborhood.
Despite the competition, the group settled on Bingo’s location because of the area’s continued development, walkability and access to other entertainment amenities.
“People told us to look at Manchester, but when you look at the spaces over there, much of it is being consumed by residential,” Alley said. “Scott’s Addition had the space we needed.”