On Tap: Supernova Bar and Arcade

By SETHWILSON GRAY

Supernova Bar and Arcade greets guests with a bright blue neon sign visible to anyone walking on Tejon street. Tucked behind Louie’s Pizza, Supernova is reminiscent of playing pinball games at the mall. Eight-bit screens flash across the walls inside and the bar dances along to the nostalgia of 70s and 80s rock hits.

Cartoon by Lo Wall

Supernova is owned by Joseph Campana, the same owner of The Rabbit Hole, another swanky bar in downtown Colorado Springs. When I heard this bar had an arcade, I had no idea what to expect (though if you want to be a more prepared gamer, I recommend looking at the complete list of their arcade games on Supernova’s website).

After entering and finding my bearings—and receiving my first beer suggestion, an Odell IPA—I settled into the vibe. It felt different than other bars, like what I imagine stepping into an 80s movie would be like.

The World Series was on TV, which everyone occasionally glanced at. However, conversation was, for the most part, the preferred form of entertainment even with all the arcade games around.

I asked one of the bartenders a few questions as Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” faded in the background. Only a few people would play the bar’s emblematic arcade games, and only for a short time. When I asked why that was, the bartender mentioned that while the machines are great to have, “the maintenance on them is difficult, so most people just come for the drinks.”

Also, it turns out Supernova is the destination for a lot of the employees of other bars after their closing hours. So late at night, it gets busy. If you’re looking for a quieter scene, head here before midnight.

THE DRINKS:

ODELL IPA — I don’t usually order IPAs, but the Odell IPA was a happy surprise. This beer matches its powerful hops with a fresh citrus aftertaste and tangy sweetness balanced with savory notes.  It’s a little on the crisp, dry side, but it’s not overbearing. While thoroughly drinkable with new flavors in every sip, the bitter aroma was an initial turnoff. In the end, on a cold night it’s something that warms you up in the right way.

UNICORN JUICE — If you prefer spirits, try out the first cocktail on Supernova’s menu: Unicorn Juice. A gin cocktail, this is a sweet spin on a cherry gin and tonic, emphasis on the sweet. No single flavor dominates the drink, making it taste like a liquid lollipop. The mixture of gin, soda, and heavy syrup looked like a pink sunset in a glass. The best part: for only an extra quarter, it pairs nicely with a game of Donkey Kong.

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