I am not a club person but I occasionally like to drink and dance. I can enjoy loud club music, but I hate crowds where fist-pumps aren’t ironic; and the majority of my friends play board or video games, not “the game.” Places that cater to this balance of “I like to party, but I was not one of the cool kids in high school” are few and far between. I would say nonexistent, but one such venue opened this weekend.
For months, buzz over Insert Coin(s) has been growing. Hundreds of people on Facebook were fans before the “videobar gamelounge” even secured its Fremont East location. Gamers drooled over what it would include. Downtown enthusiasts cheered at more development. Local artists were embraced. Insert Coin(s) promised to have something for everyone, and it seems like everyone showed up to test that promise at the grand opening April 15.
With Fremont Street closed to traffic from 6th Street to the Boulevard, local hip-hop group Rhyme N Rhythm performs in front of the bar to dozens of people willing to wait up to an hour to enter. Once inside, I notice the sole coin machine’s out-of-service button is flashing—presumably because it had given out all the quarters it could. Luckily, the bartenders provide a roll of quarters with a $5 Miller Lite.
In one corner, a DJ spins while the dance floor fills with women wearing club-ready outfits. In another, clusters of gamers hone in on classic arcade machines—some laser-focused on winning, others bobbing their head to the inescapable music. Above the bar, console games sit next to a television showing a Dodgers game. On another wall, game-inspired art is for sale. It’s sensory overload but done so seamlessly it feels non-confrontational, even with the room at maximum capacity. My only complaint: The Playboy pinball machine ate my quarter.
After I lose at House of the Dead—honestly, my hand-eye coordination is terrible—my date and I decide to leave. The line outside is still at least an hour deep, and someone’s just had pizza delivered. They know they’ll be waiting awhile, but that’s okay. People like us, we’ve been waiting for this place for years.