Galaxy Bar Lakeland, opening soon in north Lakeland, aims to maintain a nostalgic dive-bar aesthetic as the former Johnny G’s on U.S. 98 North transforms into an arcade bar. With popular vintage games from the 1980s and ’90s, like Donkey Kong, Tetris and the original Ninja Turtles, “It’s going to feel like you’re in a friend’s basement playing video games,” owner Megan Lewman said.
A foosball table and pinball machines will add to the classic feel, but it won’t all be old. Lewman said three stations will be set up with gaming consoles with all-new versions of the Ninendo PlayStation and SEGA Genesis.
While a flat fee will be charged to play some of the newer games, the older ones, like Pac-Man will be quarter fed. Remember that quarter dispenser that took dollar bills? They’ll have one of those.
Equipped with a full bar, customers will be able to order snacks like Cup Noodles and Easy Mac — “like stuff we grew up on in the ’80s and ’90s,” she said.
Manager Danielle Kirkland intends to add to retro flavor in the form of mixed drinks with ingredients like Pop Rocks, Nerds and Lemonheads.
A DJ spinning the sounds of that era and a dance floor will offer nightlife.
Galaxy “is going back to the ’80s and ’90s,” she said. “It’s my life. It’s taking me back to my childhood.”
Lewman doesn’t have a definite opening date yet, but is hoping for sometime before Halloween.
She doesn’t see Galaxy as competing with Rec Room, a recently announced arcade bar opening downtown in the same building that houses LkldLive. Planned by the team that owns Cob & Pen in Dixieland, it is going for a different vibe that relies less on nostalgia.
“We LOVE the owners at Cob & Pen. We have spoken to them and agree the vibe will be totally different and we don’t view it as competition,” Lewman said. “We have a great relationship with them and will probably be at the Rec Room as much as we are at Galaxy.”
Lewman, a serial entrepreneur, also own Juice Box and several other businesses in Lakeland, including Lewman Electric.
“We just follow our passions, and our passions are very diverse,” she said of her entrepreneurial spirit.
And selecting Lakeland as the location for Galaxy was an easy choice. “It’s our home base,” said Lewman, who moved to Lakeland from Fort Lauderdale in 2002. . “Lakeland is growing by leaps and bounds, and it’s becoming a mecca of cool local businesses.”
Galaxy Bar Lakeland
5153 U.S. 98 N.