What better way to celebrate the winding down of summer in Chicago than with some old school video games, beer and barbecuing up some Gyro Brats from the Paulina Meat Market. Pat turned 31 this weekend and his fiance decided that the right thing to do would be to celebrate his old age by having a gathering at Emporium Arcade Bar in Chicago. And seeing as how I’m a huge fan of video games, I, for once, did not bitch and complain about the bar we were going to.

Before heading to the Emporium Arcade Bar, we decided to BBQ up some unique sausages from the Paulina Meat Market (hence why this post is on antifoodie.com). Nick lives right down the street from the meat market so it was pretty convenient, plus we’d never tried it before. Paulina Meat Market is known for it’s incredible selection of unique sausages, but they also have steaks, burgers and other things as well. This trip was solely for the sausages… gyro brats to be exact.

Nick drove over earlier in the day to pick up the food, which ended up being more than just gyro brats… and a lot more expensive that he could have imagined. He ended up getting 4 of the gyro brats, 2 of the cheddar brats and 2 of the tomato basil brats. The sausages themselves weren’t that bad, I think it came out to around $24 total for 8 sausages… it was the $50 parking ticket that really drove the price up. Apparently the Paulina Meat Market gets pretty busy in the afternoon on a Saturday so putting just 30 minutes in the meter is definitely not enough. Take note. So all-in-all, a trip to the store cost about $75 bucks, and while absolutely not worth that amount of money, the gyro brats were definitely worth the $3 a piece. I did not try the tomato basil sausage, but Celeste said that it was pretty good. It was definitely a lot bigger than the gyro ones and on par with the size of the cheddar brats. The cheddar brats were a little weird for me, I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was the type of meat used in the sausage or maybe it was the cheese itself, but it had a much different consistency compared to the gyro brats, which I didn’t really care for. It was creamier than I would have expected. I’m not sure if it has anything to do with the way we cooked them, but it was just too weird for me. The cheddar brats were the only sausages that were already fully cooked, where as the tomato basil and gyro brats were not cooked, so before putting them on the grill we boiled them up in beer and then used the grill give them a nice char… We didn’t do that with the cheddar ones. We figured since the cheddar ones were already fully cooked, it would just overcook them if we boiled them, so we didn’t. Maybe next time we’ll do that, but either way, I think I was in the minority for not liking them.

So if you’re looking for some quality sausages and brats, I highly suggest checking out the Paulina Meat Market, and definitely get the gyro brat, you won’t be disappointed. They have a huge selection of brats and sausages, so if gyro isn’t quite your thing, I’m sure you’ll find something you can stomach.

emporium arcade bar chicago turtles in time
4 Player co-op games seemed to have a lot more space when we were younger

After devouring some delicious food it was time to head further into the city to celebrate Pat’s 31st birthday at the Emporium Arcade Bar. A few friends have been there before and told me that I’d love the place, but I never imagined I’d love it as much as I did…. Ok, that was a lie, I knew I’d love the place cause I’m a huge nerd. The bar doesn’t serve any food, but you are allowed to bring in outside food and eat it at any of the tables. And since there was no food, and this food is appropriately titled anti foodie, I’ll keep the bar review to a minimum. The bar recently expanded to include the space next it it, which makes things feel far less crowded than I imagine they were before. Old-school arcade machines line every wall in the place, while a bar in each room serve drinks. The drinks are very reasonably priced ($6 for a captain & coke is a steal in Chicago these days), and all of the games are 1 token (a quarter). The only thing I didn’t like is that you have to change your cash into tokens for the machines. It’s good on the bars part, because it forces you to use all the tokens at the arcade, or come back another time to use what you have left. In my case though it was dumb. I brought a bag full of quarters to use, but the change machine wouldn’t even take quarters, so I was shit out of luck in that department. I ended up having to put a fiver in the machine, but it lasted the entire night. I even had a few tokens left over at the time we left, which I had to give away to the birthday boy. We spent most of our time playing “Tapper”, yes like the character in Wreck It Ralph, but I would have rather spent my time on the Mortal Kombat 2 machine where I was absolutely destroying anyone that stepped up. After laying the smack down on Raiden using Liu Kang, the guy I was playing with actually turned around and whispered under his breath “damn that guy’s good”… it was like I was 12 again. This bar is my idea of heaven… video games, alcohol and good friends… I just wish would could have stayed a little later, but I’m sure this won’t be our last visit to this establishment.

So overall, another great weekend in Chicago. Hopefully it’s not the last nice weekend summer has in store for us, we have a few more things on our list before the cold weather sets in.

emporium arcade bar chicago 360 bike
This guy was outside the bar, apparently you can pay him to do flips on that bike

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