Earlier this year, The Merriweather Post reported scuttlebutt that Game-On Bar+Arcade may be coming to The Merriweather District. Now, it's official. Game-On Bar + Arcade has signed a lease for a ~4,000 SF space in Juniper in the Merriweather District with plans to open this summer. The bar will be located on the west side of Juniper next to Clove and Cardamon in the retail space labeled B120 on the site plan.
Owners Casey and Eli Linthicum shared more information about the concept and their plans for the new Columbia bar in an interview with The Merriweather Post. Noting the lack of nightlife options in Howard County, the couple explained that their goal is to fill the void and become the best and most fun nightly party in town. Video games are fun. Bars are fun. The vision with Game-On is to combine them to create a fun place for adults to hangout and socialize.
Game-On plans to be open until midnight on weekdays and 2 AM on Friday and Saturday nights.
The bar/arcade will have skee-ball machines, arcade basketball games, pinball machines, and both new and vintage arcade games - which will be organized into alleys by decade; with each alley featuring games from that era. Games can be operated using either quarters or tokens available from a token machine. An ATM will be on site.
It's easy to imagine that the bar will be bumping before and after concerts at Merriweather Post Pavilion. But there will be plenty of reasons to visit other nights. There will be a weekly skee-ball league, nightly drink specials and theme nights - think 90s dance parties, Halloween parties, and pajama parties.
The Columbia location will the third Game Bar+Arcade in Maryland. Unlike their other two locations in Annapolis and Federal Hill that are located in older retrofitted buildings, the Columbia location is in new construction, and it will be their most modernized location yet. The owners are still in the initial phase of planning the build-out, but they have several ambitious ideas for bar's layout that they are contemplating.
The drinks at Game-On will be high-end craft cocktails using middle to top shelf liquor and fresh ingredients. To play up the nostalgia/fun factor, cocktails can be served in cocktail pouches reminiscent of old school juice boxes. Jello Shots are served in syringes and the house beer, Cold Ass Beer by Union Craft Brewing, will be served in pint glasses that are frozen using CO2.
A small food menu will include a variety of pizzas and wings with a choice of 4 or 5 specially-curated sauces. With a small menu, the emphasis will be on doing a few things well. Everything will be made in house using high-quality ingredients.
The Lithicums emphasized that this is a bar for adults. This is not a place designed for kids like Main Event or Dave and Busters with big flashy games that spit out tickets to be redeemed for prizes. Instead, it's a bar. People are drinking. Music is uncensored. Kids will are allowed into the bar during the day, but the bar will become 21+ after 8 PM.
Casey and Eli Lithicum are both Howard County residents with deep ties to the area. Eli is the grandson of the owners of Bun Penny and a graduate of Oakland Mills High School. He spent some time bartending in New York City before returning to the area to manage Urban Axes in Baltimore and to help open CoHo Grill, the restaurant at the Hobbit's Glen golf course which predates The Turn House. Casey is a graduate of Glenelg High School. She spent time working in the bar/restaurant industry in Los Angeles; and then returned to Howard County where she became a McDonalds franchisee. They opened the Annapolis Game-On Bar+Arcade and the Federal Hill location in 2022.