“Tapper is the most expensive video game machine out there,” Insert Coin(s) founder and first-time bar owner Chris LaPorte says. “With Tapper, the machine itself is so intricate and all the woodwork that was done on it, and then of course they pulled it because it was a promotion of liquor to children. So, to find one of those is very difficult—but I assure you we’re going to have it.”
There you go, gamers/booze enthusiasts. The new 7,000-square-foot “videolounge gamebar” going in at 512 E. Fremont St. is in the hands of people who know their stand-up coin-op machines, like the 1983 Budweiser-branded suds-slinging classic that was later overhauled as Root Beer Tapper.
Set for an April 15 debut, Insert Coin(s) looks to take the rough palate of a Dave & Buster’s and refine it into an offering fit for people other than children—overgrown or otherwise.
The lounge will sport rows of classic arcade machines with couches lining the walls, each with a dedicated console where players can rent time. The full bar menu will feature both drinks (such as the Mariotini and Inky, Blinky and Clyde) and games—including cartridges you can blow on yourself, if you’re sitting at the NES. Video game savvy cocktail waitresses, experts and pro-players will be on hand if you need a tutorial.
At night the focus will shift toward music, where longtime Vegas nightlife figure Jonathan Shecter has the helm.
“I’ve taken on overseeing a crew called ScreenWerks, which is a video DJ crew. They’re going to be the primary residents,” he says. “Most likely, it will be more up-and-coming names. Maybe we will have some special events with big names, but on a day-by-day basis, [East Fremont] has a certain style and a certain feeling that we want to be a part of.”
Naturally, celebrities will play their part, too. LaPorte envisions hosting game-loving athletes and entertainers. But first things first: They’re lining up King of Kong’s Steve Wiebe. Nerd royalty, represent.