In a fit of boredom last winter break, we carted the kids and my pal John to a huge arcade/bar downtown. Since naming real places can get me fired from my fancy advertising job, let’s just call it “Don & Besters.” I’m not 100% sure why we decided on D&B. I think it was because they don’t let kids into off track betting facilities.
For those of you who have never been to a Don & Besters, consider yourself lucky. According to its website, you can “Play the newest arcade games, enjoy chef-crafted creations, sip innovative cocktails & watch your team in the sports bar that crushes the competition!” However, I think the description is missing the edgy, recycled air and vague threat of violence of a Las Vegas casino without the prostitutes.
The kids loved it.
Our pal John, who is a video game savant, won 5,000 tickets at a single video game and gave them all to Elijah, who turned them into a pair of shiny disco headphones and probably some gum.
Needless to say, Eli chose Don & Besters for his birthday party.
Because D&B is prohibitively expensive, we limited the guests to a handful of cousins and pals. Eli briefly considered inviting John, in hopes the ringer would deliver another 5,000 ticket bounty, but ultimately went with this friend Gabe.
We arrived mid-afternoon on Sunday and the clientele was decidedly rougher than our winter trip. I think some customers were there as part of community service.
I laid down the rules. You must have a buddy at all times. No one goes to the bathroom, billiards area or Champagne Room by themselves. The kids immediately launched into an insane ritual of picking who would be buddy to whom and it devolved into fighting and hurt feelings. Diana canceled the rule and said, “Just don’t get kidnapped,” and that was that.
We ordered a giant pile of food and 6 drinks with battery powered ice cubes. I inquired about their largest beer and the kids raced off to play screaming games. Our completely lovely, yet utterly overworked server tried to juggle her duties of busboy, server, bartender, host, TV repair, bouncer, fry cook and bomb disposal. She was the recipient of a massive tip.
Games were played. Plastic things were won, saturated fat was consumed. Each child walked away with a few nice trinkets, some nice memories and probably hepatitis. I walked away with swollen fingers from all the chicken fingers.
We will never do this again.
Thanks Don & Besters!