Food & Drink » Bar Exam

New downtown game lounge Joysticks goes heavy on ambience and nostalgia



Joysticks Arcade Lounge and Retro Bar
69 E. Pine St., second floor; 407-613-5007;

Essay question: Ambience, ambience, ambience! Joysticks spares no detail when it comes to re-creating the neon frenzy of the 1980s. Homages to Jaws, The Goonies and other nostalgia-heavy flicks abound, and there are more than enough arcade and console video games to go around (including couches with old Nintendos hooked up to TVs for adventurous nerds on dates). The drink menu matches the bar’s over-the-top theme with specialty cocktails using dry ice and colorful liqueurs to concoct science-project worthy beverages. The Hooters-y vibe of the waitress uniforms is a bit off-putting, even for this colorful spot, but the free Ms. Pac Man and retro vibe guarantees we’ll hit “Continue” here instead of ending the game.

Short answer/multiple choice:

After work or after hours?Head over after work and beat the rush of other ’80s and ’90s kids yearning to break free

Beer/wine or liquor too? Beer staples and specialty themed cocktails

Check all that apply:
☒ fancy cocktails
☐ make 'em strong and keep 'em coming
☐ wine list (5 choices or more)
☒ craft beer
☐ beer: the usual suspects
☐ wide selection of bottles/cans (more than 15)
☐ wide selection on tap (more than 15)

Food served? Y ☐ N ☒ (but coming eventually)

Smoking allowed inside? <Y ☐ N ☒

Outside drinking? Y ☐ N ☒

Dog-friendly? Y ☐ N ☒

Bag hooks? Y ☐ N ☒

Bathrooms: nightmare or not bad? Great as long as you don’t hate Pac-Man

TVs? Y ☒ N ☐

What’s on? ’80s music videos

DJs? Y ☐ N ☒
Live music Y ☒ N ☐ Sometimes

Loud music or background music?Loud. A few songs we heard: “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond, “Private Dancer” by Tina Turner, “Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” by Cyndi Lauper

Games? Check all that apply:
☒ pinball
☒ video
☐ pool
☐ darts
☒ other: air hockey


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.