Dave and Buster’s

Natasha and I checked out the new Dave and Buster’s gaming restaurant last Saturday afternoon. If you’re looking for something air conditioned to do on a hot, steamy afternoon in Orlando (for about $25 a person or so) it’s not a bad stop.

Dave and Buster’s is basically the giant collision of a restaurant/bar, a video arcade, and the Jersey shore. The food there is about Chili’s level – not bad, not spectacular. I thought my build your own chicken tacos was pretty good; Natasha found her fried shrimp to be about equivalent to dive bar food. I haven’t sampled the specialty booze yet, but given the number of variations on the Long Island Iced Tea available, I will definitely be visiting during happy hour at some point. Service was fast and good.

The bar has some rather innovative tables that have beer taps built in. You get to pay before you pump so you can set your limit. Seems party friendly, if you ask me.

The gaming area has a collection of the expected coin-op games, basketball hoop things, and skeeball mashed up with a lot of gambling-lite type things like coin drops and variations on roulette type things. The prices on the games vary, but our $12 each basically bought us about an hour of gaming. Other than the arcade games, most everything you play earns you tickets based on your success, which you can redeem for prizes.

I have fond memories of playing coin drops at my school carnival and the Jersey Shore. A lawyer friend of my grandmother taught me how to win at the quarter drops. (Yes, lawyers always know how to drain the most money out of anything.) He advised me that if you put the quarters in your mouth and got them nice and wet and sticky before you dropped them in the machine, they tended to stick better to the platform in the machine and the other coins and wouldn’t slide on top of the other coins quite as much. Gross, yes, but I ended up winning $50 (and putting most of it back) at the carnival. (My first gambling lesson learned.) Unfortunately, as an adult, I didn’t really feel comfortable putting Dave and Buster’s coins in my mouth. Damn maturity!

In the end, if you’re not into playing some games and getting rewarded with some candy or a wicker finger trap, D&B isn’t for you. But for a date night or some time out with the kids, it’s a fun stop.