COLUMBIA — Tonic Night Club may have shut its doors Friday night — well, early Saturday morning — but opening in its place this September is a bar that's meant to be played in.
Silverball Bar will have games and arcade machines. These types of bars were created to give people something fun to do while they drink, owner Nic Parks said. He had noticed that when people go out, they just sit and drink. He wanted something more.
Parks said he's been thinking about creating a an arcade bar in Columbia for about three years, but until now hadn't found a space he thought was right.
"I think it'll be for everyone," Parks said about who the bar will be targeted for. "A lot of people haven't experienced arcades. College-aged kids will have the opportunity to, but I think mostly people with children, who may want to go on a date night where you can go with spouse or girlfriend or whatever and get a drink and play some games."
The model goes as follows: People coming in will buy a $10 all-you-can-play game card that will act as a cover charge. Once inside, they can buy drinks, pick music to play from a jukebox and play games until the bar closes. Once the bar closes, the card expires.
Parks said possible games will include Big Buck Hunter, Ms. Pac-Man, Skee-Ball, air hockey, mini-basketball, Golden Tee, darts, mini-bowling and, as the name alludes, about 30 pinball machines. Parks co-owns The Pinball Company, an arcade game superstore based locally, but, he said, Silverball Bar will be a separate franchise.
In Chicago, Parks said he toured five arcade bars to see how they were run. He said Mike McClung, who owns the building, is sold on the idea and will help him understand all that goes into running a bar — drinks, cover charges and security, for example.
"Mike was planning on closing Tonic," Parks said. "I got in touch with him and he liked the idea. He thinks it will do well."
As for Tonic's signature gray storefront? It's being remodeled into glass, Parks said, to make the building more welcoming. The transition is set to begin this week.
"The bathrooms will be remodeled; the lounge furniture that's in there will be taken out," Parks said. "We want it to become its own thing."
Supervising editor is Claire Mitzel.