There’s something about the 80s and 90s. They were decades that never seem to be forgotten and many of the great characteristics (and some of the not so great) seem to carry on through today. Technology was prevalent but it hadn’t yet taken over our lives. Sure, some will debate it, but it was the end of great music, cars were still squared-off and had character, and most importantly, video games were awesome and required less buttons than one has fingers. Stepping into 1984 in Wilmington, Delaware is much like stepping into a time warp. Sadly, you will hear some modern day music from time to time, but they do have awesome video games.
Located ten minutes outside of downtown Wilmington, in an unsuspecting shopping plaza, 1984 is truly a hidden gem of Delaware. Pulling up, little would be expected based off the interior, but as your mom always said, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Once you step through the doors, you feel as if you’ve been transported to a grungy bar Wayne and Garth would proudly call home. The walls are adorned in murals of old video game characters and comic book legends, and it is dimly lit to perfection for a bar called 1984. Of course, when you first walk in, you’ll most likely notice the large square bar that sits in the center of the room. With no draft towers or pillars blocking the views of any side of the bar, it’s the perfect setting for memorable bar conversation. But chances are you won’t want to sit at the bar for long, not when you have five pinball machines, seventeen arcades games and even one of the old fashioned sit down arcade machines at your disposal. As for the titles, they change all the time, but a recent visit includes: Street Fighter 2, Terminator 2, California Speed (the two-seater version), Off Road and Die Hard, not to mention Adams Family, Back to the Future, and Batman (the original Michael Keaton version) pinball. Arcade games from the 90s a little too technologically advanced for your liking? They also have a book shelf full of classic board games to keep you entertained.
As far as beer goes, 1984 keeps things simple. 10 taps are offering up beers to make you think you’re a lot better at those games than you actually are. They also have about 50 rotating bottles, cleanly broken up by style on the large chalkboard wall. Want something a little more exciting? They have one of those Delaware-famous Dogfish Head Randalls they hook up two to three times a week with a new concoction each time. For those aficionados who enjoy different types of beers with different types of games, they also offer up flights so you can pair to perfection.
On the food side of things, your options are pretty endless. Just ask the bartender for the binder of takeout menus and order whichever type of food you desire. Having no kitchen, you’re not limited to any one type of food. And, for ultra-convenience, the unsuspecting shopping plaza has a neighboring Chinese restaurant.
For those who desire even more entertainment, the corner stage also plays host to 90s trivia, karaoke, and local musical acts. Now, if only they could recreate TGIF on Friday nights, there would be no reason to ever leave. 1984 is located at 2511 W. 4th Street, Wilmington, Delaware 19805.