We’re truly spoilt for choice when it comes to things to do in London, but an evening spent playing retro arcade games never really gets old, does it? An arena overflowing with energy and excitement, eyes glued to screens, and a sense of fun, frivolity and (hopefully) friendly competition in the air. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to celebrate your birthday, need a quirky date night idea, or you’re just a big kid at heart; here’s our rundown of the best arcades in London that promise a rewarding time. Game on.
1. The Four Quarters
Head on down to this retro game bar to relive some childhood memories (just slightly more booze-infused, this time). There’s an excellent craft ale selection, amazing cocktails, and an American grill selection that will not disappoint. Hop in after a tough day at work for some unwinding with your colleagues, or bring your mates along for a few hours of fun.
The Four Quarters’ game collection is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face; we’re talking Super Nintendo, Pacman, Nintendo 64, Star Wars Trilogy, Sega Dreamcast, Tekken 3, Street Fighter 2, Indiana Jones, Alien vs Predator, or just a simple round of Tetris, if that’s what floats your boat.
📍 Unit 8 Canalside, East Bay Lane, E20 3BS and 187 Rye Lane, SE15 4TP.
🚇 Nearest stations are Hackney Wick and Peckham Rye.
2. Las Vegas Arcade Soho
The glamour of Las Vegas and the excitement of an arcade – what more could you want from this roundup of arcades in London hey? Specialising in a collection of Japanese video games, there’s something here for all age groups. The kids can enjoy racing, street fighting, or dancing, while the adults hedge their bets up in the casino on the first floor.
Situated right next to Chinatown, there are loads of yummy food options for you to tuck into before you head for some gaming time. They’ve even got Mario Kart here, but if you’re not one to sit in front of a screen and manoeuvre a stick, you can opt for a spot of pool or air hockey before you strut your stuff on the Dance, Dance, Revolution.
📍 89, 91 Wardour Street, W1F 0UB.
🚇 Nearest station is Piccadilly Circus.
3. Novelty Automation
Novelty Automation will blow your mind if you’re looking for a quirky place to flex your gaming muscles. The machines are built (mostly by hand, might I add) by an engineer-turned-cartoonist, Tim Hunkin. He runs the ‘Under the Pier Show’ arcade – an engineer-made amusement park which most likely has many games from your childhood days.
📍 1a Princeton Street, WC1R 4AX
🚇 Nearest station is Chancery Lane.
4. Four Thieves
📍 51 Lavender Gardens, Battersea, SW11 1DJ
🚇 Nearest station is Clapham Junction.
5. The Heart of Gaming
They’ve got Pinball! Need we say any more? Built and owned by an Arcade Engineer, Mark Starkey, The Heart of Gaming (or HOG for the cool kids) offers something fresh and new every time you visit as there are a couple of machines that he frequently renovates to surprise his visitors. His unmatched passion for gaming machines is clear to see.
They’ve got Nintendo 64, SNES, Megadrive, Daytona USA, and Simpsons games here, as well as new Japanese ‘craze games’ like House of the Dead 4 and Maimai. Plus, they’ll truly get you grooving with their in-house Dance, Dance, Revolution! There are also a whole host of shopping outlets and eateries nearby, so why not make a day of it?
📍 10 Cullen Way, North Acton, NW10 6JZ
🚇 Nearest station is Acton Main Line.
6. Gravity Wandsworth
Next up on the list isn’t just an arcade, it’s Gravity Wandsworth, a total wonderland of gaming joy. Picture three floors jam-packed with entertainment, from mini-golf and bowling to digital darts and of course: a fully kitted out arcade.
Gravity is also home to multiple bars and food vendors for refueling and rehydrating between gaming rounds. Yes, we take arcades very seriously around here.
📍 Wandsworth High St, SW18 4TF
🚇 Nearest station is Wandsworth Town.
The penultimate entry to our list of the best arcades in London is the neon-splashed, nostalgia-inducing NQ64. Whet your whistle with one of their delicous cocktails and then proceed to thrash your friends on one of their retro games or classic consoles.
All the fun you would expect from an arcade plus an everchanging drinks menu to keep you on your toes!
📍 53 Berwick St, W1F 8SP and 260 Old St, EC1V 9DD
🚇 Nearest stations are Tottenham Court Road and Old Street.
8. Otherworld VR
The list of the best arcades in London wouldn’t be complete without a virtual reality experience. Otherworld VR is an award-winning VR arcade that brings the unmatched experience of 4D technology right to central London. You can feel the heat, wind and other elements, enjoy the summer sun, or even help to build a snowman!
The separate Immersion Pods transport you virtually to the Otherworld – a parallel universe where you can immerse in any of the sixteen VR experiences for an hour or two. Options include exploring a magical garden or even battling a zombie apocalypse in Arizona. What better place to spend a birthday or go for a date then, hey?
📍 336 Acton Mews, E8 4EA and 85 Buckingham Palace Road, SW1W 0QJ
🚇 Nearest stations are Haggerston and Victoria.
So there you go – a roundup of the best arcades in London. Whether you’re wanting to show off you dance mat skills or try your hand at fighting on Tekken; these arcades should have you sorted for the foreseeable.