I’m always looking for cool new places to hang out, so when the planned venue for a get-together with friends was unexpectedly unavailable, I decided to take them to one I’d previously spotted in my area. 8-Bit Beans Cafe and Gaming Lounge is a video game-themed cafe in Whitby, Ontario that also serves as a retro arcade. (We’ve now been twice within a week, if that tells you anything.)
Refreshments and food available at 8-Bit Beans Cafe
The refreshment options at 8-Bit Beans are strong in some areas and lacking in others. When it comes to food, most of the offerings consist of sandwiches, nachos, and hot dogs (including a build-your-own option for the latter). There are other small snacks available in addition to this and prices are mostly reasonable.
My friends enjoyed their hot dogs and I had the “Luigi’s Mansion” sandwich (mozzarella, guacamole, and jalapeno peppers). Chips came on the side of all our orders.
Drinks-wise the main offerings fall under two categories: coffee and alcohol. There are plenty of specialty lattes (my friend had three “Rocky Road” lattes over our two visits) and boozy drinks in addition to the typical fare under these umbrellas. Many of them are named after classic video game characters such as the “Funky Kong” and the “Princess Peach” (I had the “Mega-Man”).
While soda cans and juice boxes are also available, I was disappointed that there weren’t any specialty options other than coffee or alcohol. Those who visit in the afternoon may find it too late for coffee but too early for booze, and the cafe would probably make more on drinks during these times if they had special smoothies or mocktail options (especially with so many kids showing up). Decaf is an option for the coffee, but they are not advertised and you have to ask for them.
Games to play at 8-Bit Beans
The game machines at 8-Bit Beans operate on a token-based system and said tokens can be purchased at the refreshment counter. (Most games run on two or three tokens.) Pinball has the biggest presence of the gaming options at the cafe, each based on a different property such as Star Wars, Batman, Stranger Things and The Addams Family.
There are other token-taking machines in addition to these, including ones based on driving, bowling, track and field, and more, but pinball is definitely the central attraction when it comes to this arcade.
There is also a side room containing old-school video games along the lines of Pac-Man and Space Invaders. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there’s still a one-group-at-a-time rule for this area, which will likely be lifted as pandemic restrictions continue to be relaxed.
What’s nice about the gaming side of 8-Bit Beans Cafe is that there are gaming options for those coming in for a treat that don’t want to buy a bunch of tokens. There’s a foosball table that does not require them and TVs with retro gaming consoles (SNES and the original PlayStation) at a couple of the dining tables.
Besides the console games, my group’s favorites were Street Fighter and the bowling game which involved rolling a ball within the machine with our hands to make the bowling ball on screen-roll.
8-Bit Beans is available to rent for private parties, and those planning to come on a “normal” day should first check the cafe’s website to see if one is running at the time they wish to visit as the establishment will be closed to the public.
For hours and updates on 8-Bit Beans, check out the cafe’s website.