May 13, 2022
Let’s go back to the ‘90s. Dr. Dre’s California Love blasts on the speakers. You sweet talk the lunch lady for a few extra tater tots. And you’ve got the high score on the Pac-Man machine at the local arcade. What a time to be alive…
Luckily, you can get that feeling right on West Street. Albeit with better food. And booze—provided you’re 21, of course. GameOn Bar + Arcade sits in a 102-year-old former firehouse. Inside, spray-painted video game characters adorn the walls, retro arcade games flash and beep, and there’s a bar. More on that later.
Words by Maria Grosskettler. Photos by Naptown Scoop.
Finding a Home in Annapolis
GameOn owner Casey Linthicum used to own a McDonald’s with her father. After he retired, she decided to sell it and take a chance on an idea she’d had for years. Back in 2017, Casey and her husband, Eli, visited an arcade bar in New York City. They loved it. Casey thought, “What if we could do that?”
Though home is Howard County and work was in Columbia, Casey picked Annapolis for GameOn. In her words, “Annapolis has this amazing small-town feel. It’s a beautiful city with nice, friendly people. We couldn’t be happier with our location on West Street because as Joe from Stan and Joe’s always says, ‘We’re fun and funky on West Street.’”
That location is 114 West Street. It’s an old firehouse. Once Casey saw it, she knew it was meant to be. After college, Casey joined AmeriCorps NCCC and worked as a wildland firefighter in Colorado Springs.
With a little construction help from woman-owned Integrity Construction, spray paint wizardry from @jimbo_th13_artxgod, and Casey’s husband Eli joining the team, GameOn opened its doors in March 2022. Casey said, “I am so excited my husband has joined this venture. He’s amazing at operations and recently left his position as the General Manager of Urban Axes in Baltimore to partner with me.”
Time to Plan the Parties
Casey has a background in event management. So she’s aiming to make GameOn the hottest spot in Annapolis for corporate events, team building, and parties. Before she moved back to Maryland, Casey ran marketing and events for a popular nightclub just outside Los Angeles.
“I’ve always loved throwing big parties and celebrations, especially surprise parties and themed parties! It’s so fun working with customers and friends to set up the perfect event.”
With such a positive vibe and a seasoned pro at the helm, what could be a better place for hosting a team building event or a birthday party? Nothing says camaraderie like a good old-fashioned game of Skee-Ball. And adult Capri Suns will take you back in time.
Female Food Partners
GameOn has its own food truck-inspired snacks for hungry gamers. Think gourmet Pop-Tarts, Hot Pockets, Frito pies, hot dog, etc. But Casey prides herself on female catering partners for events. If you want Mexican food, Casey calls Roxana Rodriguez from Caliente Grill. Want Italian? Erin Dry from Luna Blu’s on speed dial. BBQ? Marla George at Pit Boys.
Casey also works with woman-owned businesses behind the bar. GameOn is one of the best places in town to enjoy Shoal Draft Cider, which is owned by Annapolis resident Gretchen Esbensen. Also behind the bar you can enjoy Cold Ass Beer (Casey’s words, not mine), wines, and both canned and hand-crafted cocktails.
Happy hour is Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 7 PM. And they’ve got mimosa specials on Sunday from noon to 5 PM!
Boardwalk-Style Arcade Sans the Minors (Most of the Time)
GameOn is like going to the Ocean City Boardwalk. Except it’s not 100 miles away, there’s no Bay Bridge, and after 6 PM, there aren’t any kids. Before 6 PM, minors must be with an adult. As the weather warms up, GameOn will be adding games like giant Jenga, cornhole, and foosball to the outdoor space.
If you need a little “fun and funky” in your life, you know where to go. 114 West Street, Annapolis, MD 21401 or gameonbarcade.com
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