The Coin-Op Arcade Chattanooga
By: Jake Martin
Chattanooga has brought some pretty cool businesses to the area in recent years, but only one can say they offer a cereal bar with a side of pinball.
The Coin-Op Arcade has officially been in the Gig-City for just over two years as of August 29, 2015, and a lot has changed in that time. Owner Brian Hennen, has collaborated with many different local artists to provide the MLK “barcade” with a super unique vibe as soon as you step foot inside.
Art of Coin-Op
One of those artists, Michael Carrillo, has been creating pixel-based perler art for several years and more recently has been displaying it behind the bar where visitors are able to purchase his creations.
“I've been doing it for around three years now as a hobby but didn't start selling them until Coin-Op opened two years ago,” Carrillo said. “I started selling my stuff in Coin-Op because it was the exact venue to attract my target customers. Also, Brian is an amazing and gracious business partner who helps me keep my merchandise moving.”
What "The Coin" Has to Offer
If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where you can’t decide what you would like to do while you’re out and about, Coin-Op has you covered. It feels like you’re walking into your friend's basement, only your friend has the coolest collections of knick-knacks to make their place the best place to hang out.
A large projector that sits above the bar allows patrons to order a beer and kick their friend's butt in Mario Kart 64 all at the same time.
If you’re waiting to take the loser's spot in Super Smash Bros., you can kill time by trying your luck at the assortment of pinball machines directly across from the bar. Fancy yourself an arcade cabinet connoisseur? All of the classics are there: Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, NBA Jam, and more.
If that’s still not enough for you, throughout the year you can experience live music, different video game tournaments, and themed events like my personal favorite, “Sunday Cereal Overload,” where people show up in their PJ’s, watch some Sunday morning cartoons, and indulge in a bottomless bowl of cereal.
Whether you’re someone who has an appreciation for video games or not, The Coin-Op is a place for people of all ages to gather and have a good time. However, I’d recommend brushing up on your GoldenEye 007 skills.
Meet the Owner - Brian Hennen
“Favorite system would actually be early PC gaming, think King's Quest, Space Quest etc. Roberta Williams developed point and clickers.”
“Favorite game of all time is tuff, gonna have to go with the Quest for Glory series on PC just because of memories. Also Civilization 2.”
Favorite Console Brand? (Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony)
“Nintendo early years, Sony PS1 & PS2”
Why Chattanooga/MLK as your location?
“My family owned a bar on Patten Parkway, and I grew up in the area so this particular street (formerly 9th street) and region are special.”
Who would win in a fight, Mario or Sonic?
How did you come about partnering with Michael Carrillo?
“Matt Skudlarek, of the fantastic Bitter Alibi (great neighbors and great people), introduced us, and I'm forever grateful to know such a good crew of folks, both Matt and Michael.”
Favorite aspect of owning Coin-Op?
“Favorite aspect is the inexplicably awesome view from behind the bar of seeing new friends being made for life. The best thing about Coin is that it brings in ALL folks to bond over a universal enjoyment. Beautiful, really.”
Do you ever hang out here when the Coin is closed to just play games on the projector?
“Of course, but I normally play pinball, as that's what I most enjoy because of memories.”
The Coin-Op Arcade is located at 233 E M L King Blvd, Chattanooga, TN 37402
Hours of Operation: