Level One Bar + Arcade Making its Way to OTR

Posted on October 3, 2022 by sujvary

Arcade Bar Expanding to Cincinnati Market in a 3CDC Space

A new gaming establishment will soon be opening in a familiar space in OTR. Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC) has signed a lease with Columbus-based Level One Bar + Arcade to move into the non-profit developer’s space at 1331 Walnut Street.

Level One is expanding its Ohio market by opening its second location in the 4,595 square-foot space that is part of 3CDC’s Mercer Commons project.

“We’re elated Level One has decided to break into the Cincinnati market; we think it’s a great concept for the space and will add new life to this block of Walnut Street,” said Lindzie Gunnels, Senior Commercial Leasing Officer with 3CDC.

Level One’s lineup will include pinball machines and old-school arcade games, some of which come from owner Paul Burkhart’s original collection. Burkhart, an avid old-school gamer, has a collection of pinball machines that jumpstarted his original Level One location.

“About 25 years ago, I bought my first pinball machine. Then another, and another,” Burkhart said. “We had a house built around a walk-out basement where I could bring in machines.”

The peak of his personal assortment included over 60 pinball machines and 20 arcade games. About half of those now live at Level One in Columbus. In addition to arcade games, the Cincinnati location will feature 24 taps of Ohio-focused beers with a spotlight on local brews. While it won’t have a kitchen or offer food, Level One will encourage visitors to order takeout from local restaurants to bring into the bar. The arcade bar also plans to partner with local establishments to streamline the process for customers to order food and have it delivered to Level One, implementing a system that is already operating in the Columbus location.

The arcade bar’s original space is in the Crosswoods neighborhood of Columbus, a more suburban location than Level One’s new space. Burkhart looked at several spots in plenty of Cincinnati neighborhoods including Mt Adams, Kenwood and The Banks before deciding on the space in OTR.

“Though I love our neighborhood in Columbus, I’m really excited about being in a downtown, urban-type area also,” Burkhart said. “There’s a vibrancy in OTR and we’re excited about being in our new location.”

While looking to expand Level One, Burkhart came into contact with 3CDC and appreciated both the OTR neighborhood and the organization’s interest in the community. He’s most excited about sharing his passion for pinball with Cincinnati, just as he did with Columbus, and knows that there’s no specific demographic for arcade-lovers, so the Queen City’s urban core was the place where it would fit best and see all walks of life.

Mercer Commons is a multi-phase, mixed-use development along the 1200-1400 blocks of Vine and Walnut streets that was completed in 2016. Combined, all three phases of Mercer Commons yielded 67 mixed-income apartments (30 of which are affordable units), 23 condominiums, five townhomes, a 340-space parking garage and 14,500 square feet of commercial space. Level One joins Mercer Commons tenants Unity Visual Solutions, Rhinevest, Community Barbershop, ERA Realty and Oasis Face Bar.

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