• Open Noon-Late Daily
  • All Ages Admitted Until 4:30PM
  • 21+ & I.D. Required After 5PM
Categories: From The CEO

Now Serving At 5PM

As you may have noticed, Ground Kontrol‘s bar now starts serving every day at 5PM. Here are some frequently asked questions, and answers:

Why aren’t kids allowed after 5PM?

The OLCC won’t allow it, except under very special circumstances. Apparently, having a high wooden counter (i.e. a bar) and dim lighting is enough to create a “drinking environment”. And you can’t have kids near a wooden counter with dim lighting while there’s alcohol around, heaven forbid!

Recently, the OLCC did liberalize their rules slightly, so we can now have minors present while alcohol is served, during private parties. See our rentals page for details.

Aren’t arcades for kids?

We grew up in arcades during the 70s & 80s, and find modern arcades to be an abomination. Ground Kontrol is an arcade for adults, hence our focus on old school games and lack of stupid redemption games. Kids are welcome (before 5PM), and they usually have a lot of fun, but they’re not why we’re in business.

Why alcohol in an arcade?

We serve alcohol to make ends meet. GK is a labor of love, not money. Our out-of-town customers frequently tell us that there aren’t any classic arcades in their town. Why? It’s a tough business. We’re lucky that Portland is the sort of place that will support a classic arcade.

Do you have a happy hour?

Yes, but we can’t advertise it outside of GK. Please call us @ 503-796-9364 for details.

Why did it take so long for you to have a happy hour?

In March, we asked the OLCC to change our serving time from 7PM to 5PM. You’d think that would be a simple thing that would take a week at most, right? Sadly, it took four months. The good news is, the OLCC’s rules changed during that time, so we were able to change some of our other license restrictions, too.

Why can’t you have all-ages shows?

We’re not brave enough. Whle the OLCC’s new Minor VI posting allows all-ages shows, and GK was the first establishment in Oregon to receive a Minor VI posting, we’ve chosen not to have all-ages shows at this time. Unfortunately, no matter how much a venue does to keep minors from drinking alcohol, the OLCC can close a premises to minors if even one minor is caught with alcohol. This is like telling a store that they can’t sell candy if somebody shoplifts one candy bar! Though not allowing minors wouldn’t put us out of business, we really appreciate it when parents bring their kids to show them what arcades were like when they were a kid. So, we’re going to wait and see how the rules are enforced at other venues.

Have questions of your own? If so, please leave them in the comments section, and I’ll try to answer them!


Categories: Arcade News

Micropalooza ’08: Rockin’ the Gameboy

Micropalooza '08: Art by Isaac Sonnenburg
Micropalooza ’08: Art by Isaac Sonnenburg

Ground Kontrol is pleased to announce the return of Micropalooza, Portland’s first 2-Day Chiptune Music Festival! Chiptune music is made using video games such as the the Atari 2600, the Nintendo Gameboy and NES, as well as 8-bit computers such as the Commodore C64. Though more popular in Europe, Chiptune music is quickly catching on in the US.

Ground Kontrol has been hosting 8-bit musicians for years, including Micropalooza I and the International Chiptune Resistance tour. This year’s Micropalooza features musicians from all over, including Sweden! There were too many artists to fit on one bill, so we made this year’s Micropalooza a 2-day event. Details after the jump.


Categories: Arcade News

Portland Retro Gaming Expo – August 2nd & 3rd

It’s time for the 3rd annual Portland Retro Gaming Expo! Ground Kontrol has participated in the past 2 events, and we’re excited to be a part of the convention again this year.

The Retro Gaming Expo packs a bunch of vendors, collectors, enthusiasts and anyone searching for a piece of their gaming past into one massive room for 2 full days of buying, selling, trading and geeking out.

We’ll be selling classic console games and equipment, along with our ultra-cool t-shirts and whatever other gaming odds & ends we unearth from storage! Everything will be priced at special show rates, so you can get more for your money.

Saturday evening, catch a screening of “High Score”, the documentary film that follows one player trying to top the Missile Command world-record score. Then, those 21+ and older can come to Ground Kontrol for a special “High Score” / Retro Gaming Expo after-party where show badgeholders can get free games!

The show is open Saturday and Sunday, 10AM – 5PM. Admission to the show is $10 per day or $15 for a 2-day pass. Check out the Retro Gaming Expo website for the full schedule, directions and other essentials.

See you at the show!

Portland Retro Gaming Expo Banner

Categories: From The CEO

A Blog About An Arcade

Looking around the Interwebs, I can’t seem to find any blogs about arcades. Maybe it’s because nobody cares about the inner workings of arcades, or maybe it’s because most arcade owners are too busy or too old to write a blog. I suspect people are interested, because my employees regularly ask me questions that customers have asked them. So, I’ve decided to start a blog about Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade, in hope that somebody finds it interesting. Enjoy!

Update: Here is another arcade blog, for Arcade UFO in Austin, TX.


Categories: Arcade News, Bar News

New Serving Hours and Private Rental Options

Beer and NES on the barStarting today, the bar now opens at 5PM every day. If you’re 21 or older, stop in for a brew and some video game or pinball action on your way home from work!

Ground Kontrol is still family-friendly 11AM-5PM on Saturday and Noon-5PM every other day of the week, so you can show your kids what arcades were like when you were a kid!

We are also pleased to announce some major changes to our private rental policy: Private events may now include alcohol service at any time of day, and minors may attend private events where alcohol is being served if they are accompanied by an adult guardian or spouse. For more details, see our Rental Rates and Information.

Categories: Arcade News

Sunday Slugfest: Sunday, July 20th

Sunday Slugfest: Poster by Isaac SonnenburgSunday, July 20th marks a momentous occasion in Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade history: we’re putting the call out to the Pacific NW’s greatest fighters to come down to GK and beat each other bloody… on screen.

It’s time for the Sunday Slugfest, GK’s first-ever fighting game tournament! Participants will compete in 4 games: Street Fighter III: Third Strike (PS2), Tekken Tag Tournament (PS2, special 2-on-2 battle), Soul Calibur 2 (Arcade), and Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting Super Street Fighter II Turbo: Grand Master Challenge (Arcade, special upgrade for the tournament!)

The battles will rage all day long, with pizza and soft drinks (a warrior’s diet) provided for all paid participants. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top 3 players for each title, with more prizes given away to other winners (including a random drawing or two.)

The cost to play is just $5 cover plus $3 per tournament. Sign-ups start at 11AM, tournament starts at Noon (and will end by 6:45PM.) There is a 16-player cap for each tournament, except Tekken Tag Tournament which will cap at 16 teams of 2 players (with one alternate player allowed per team.)

For more details and discussion, visit the Shoryuken.com discussion thread or check back for any updates.

This event is produced in association with RayBladeX, whose dedication to the fighting game community has made this contest a reality!

Note: In order to keep this event all-ages, we’ll be opening the bar at 7PM on Sunday evening instead of 5PM! Minors will be allowed until 7PM when we’ll switch to 21+ only (with valid I.D.)

Categories: Arcade News

New Wheels!

We took our racing games into the shop for a quick tune-up and, what do you know? We came out with all new cars. They’re real beauties, too: all-new titles, with two seats apiece for two kinds of head-to-head racing thrills.

Cruis'n Exotica title screenCruis’n Exotica (Bally/Midway, 1999)
Exotica is the third title in Eugene JarvisCruis’n series. Originally debuting in 2000, players race in beautiful and, ahem, exotic locales like the Amazon, Ireland and Las Vegas.

Too every-day for you? Try speeding through Atlantis or Mars! Cars are all real-life rides, including a Corvette, Hummer, and an on-duty police car.

This new-school arcade game is easily the best of the Cruis’n series and is one of the more engaging racers you’ll ever play, thanks to its imaginative tracks and style.

rush2049-web.jpgSan Francisco Rush: 2049
Fifty years later and, apparently, San Francisco is still a big racing town. The fan favorite of Atari’s Rush franchise, 2049 takes place in a high-speed future where cars grow wings and sail through myriad shortcuts.

Chances are you’ve cracked 200MPH in a Rush game before; this game is no exception, continuing the big air and crazy physics of its predecessors.

Released in 1999, Rush: 2049 was the final arcade game to bear the iconic Atari logo. From 1979’s Asteroids to Rush:2049 twenty years later, we’ve got your arcade history covered!

Categories: Bar News

Beers in the Arcade



We got bottles and cans of all your favorites!


  • Pabst Blue Ribbon (16 oz. Can)
  • Miller High Life (16 oz. Can)
  • Miller Genuine Draft (12 oz. Bottle)
  • Coors Light (12 oz. Bottle) <- NEW!


  • Pacifico (12 oz. Bottle) <- NEW!


  • New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale (12 oz. Bottle)
  • Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale (12 oz. Bottle)
  • Deschutes Black Butte Porter (12 oz. Bottle)
  • Pyramid Hefeweizen (12 oz. Bottle) <- NEW!
  • Sessions Lager 11 oz. Stubby (12 oz. Bottle)


  • Mike’s Hard Lemonade (12 oz. Bottle)
  • HardCore Cider (12 oz. Bottle) <- NEW!


  • Currently Rotating Weekly! This week: Alaskan Summer Ale
PS – We also have a fine selection of non-alcoholic beverages.
Categories: Arcade News

T-Shirts Are Back, In Black (and Asphalt)

Ground Kontrol Shirt Design on BlackGround Kontrol’s retro-rad T-shirts are back, black, and better than ever! This time around, they’re printed on American Apparel stock for a comfy fit, and selected sizes are also available in Asphalt, a deep gray with old-school flavor.

Order yours today from our online store, or pick one up at the arcade…in between games of Donkey Kong, of course.

Ground Kontrol Gambles On Video Poker

New Video Poker lineup!It’s been a long time coming, but everyone’s favorite downtown arcade/bar/music venue can now add a new descriptor: GAMBLING HOLE!

That’s right, double up and bet eight credits, ’cause Ground Kontrol is the proud new home of twelve brand new video poker machines, courtesy of the Oregon Lottery.

“It Does Good Things,” said Anthony Ramos, co-owner and self-confessed video poker fan. “We’re always on the lookout for the newest and most popular entertainments. The time was finally right. Now players can compete for not just for high score and the acclaim of their peers, but for cold, hard cash. Also, my crack habit was getting really expensive, and this will help offset that.”

“We had to clear out all the pinball machines and most of the video games, but we’re sure that players will soon forget them once they see these new machines, and comments from customers seem to be bearing that out.”

Brad, electrician and frequent customer: “I was so stoked to see that they got video poker. I mean, Q*Bert was cool and all, but I think they’re making much better use of the space. One video lottery machine has, like, games galore.”

“Ground Kontrol could have always used a gambling machine or two. Can I get an ashtray?”- Thom, cab driver

“Money rules!”- Patricia, volunteer

“SMELLS LIKE CASH IN HERE!!!”- Doug, probably lives around here or something

“V||)3() p()|<3R |s |337!!!!!!!1!”- Lord Mordicus, teh HaXX0R

So, be sure to stop into the all-new Ground Kontrol: the place for beer, DJs, live bands, and gambling addiction!