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‘Our whole theme is retro’: Arcade bar opens in downtown Rock Hill

Rock Hill’s “first” 21 and older arcade bar is open on Main Street bringing the 1980s with it.

Player 1 Up has about 30 vintage video games and pinball machines, including Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Donkey Kong.

The downtown bar opened for business Tuesday serving craft beer, cocktails and food, pizza and wings. The bar describes itself online as the “first and only” 21-and-older arcade bar in Rock Hill.

“Our whole theme is retro,” said co-owner Howard Bohrer of Rock Hill. “These games go back to the ’80s, early ’90s. Some of these pinball machines go back to the ’70s. We have retro music, retro games with a modern player.”

Co-owner Mike Bost of Rock Hill has always enjoyed vintage video games.

“We’ve been looking for a business to get into,” Bohrer said. “And we just said, ‘You know, why don’t we open up an arcade bar with all the old games like we used to play when we were kids?’”

Although the pair, who has known each other since junior high, could agree to open an arcade bar, Bohrer said they had trouble picking a name. They eventually agreed on Player 1 Up, Bohrer said.

“The name came from the games,” Bohrer said. “When you hit start, it’ll say ‘Player one up. Player two up. Player three up.’”

Bost said he bought the original video game machines from a local businessman, who found most of the old machines in a barn in Virginia.

“When video games went out, a lot of these machines got trashed,” Bost said. “A lot of them got thrown in landfills.”

A $5 cover charge at the door includes play for all the games.

Bohrer said the owners want the bar to be a space for adults. They are considering adding a family day in the future or allowing parents to rent the space for children’s parties, Bohrer said.

“Some of these games are 30, 40 years old,” Bohrer said. “And we would love for (kids) to experience that. But right now, we’re just trying to get our feet wet.”

The owners are hoping to expand the bar in the next year by tearing down a wall in the space, which will add about 1,500 square feet. Bohrer said they will add air hockey and Foosball tables to that area.

Player 1 Up also will hold video game tournaments, corn hole tournaments and have live concerts, Bost said.

“We need more of this down here and to get people down here,” Bost said. “That was one of the things we noticed when we got down here. We were looking around on a Friday night at 8 O’clock, it’s like, ‘Where is everybody at?’ So we hope we can help.”

Want to go?

What: Player 1 Up

Where: 140 E. Main St., Rock Hill

Hours: 4 p.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday, 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday, noon-2 a.m. Saturday and noon-midnight Sunday.

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