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ARCADE REPORT: John & Jay’s Arcade at The Hangar Pub and Grill - Amherst, Mass. (July 2021)

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

There’s a running joke in my family whenever he go on a road trip. Someone will say that they’re hungry and I will nonchalantly say “Oh, I know a good restaurant around here.” Of course this restaurant always ends up being a carefully selected arcade that I’ve been secretly banking on visiting the whole time. I then feign shock when we walk in and there’s arcade games and pinball machines 😂.

My family is going on a series of road trips to visit potential colleges for my oldest son this summer. The first stop was U Mass Amherst. Several minutes from campus is The Hangar Pub, which features a ton of games routed by John of the John’s Arcade YouTube show fame and his friend Jay, the operator of the fantastic Free Play Bar Arcade in Providence, Rhode Island (which we visited pre-pandemic).

So I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is that we found the arcade and the games looked great. The bad news is that we ran into a buzz saw that was an unexpected huge high school lacrosse tournament at U Mass. The Hangar was absolutely PACKED with people. There was a two hour wait for lunch! Great news for the place and the operators…not so much for us lol.

I honestly didn’t get to spend a lot of time at this location. The pinball lineup was strong, including new games like the hot off the press Mandalorian and Stranger Things. It also contained the famous Ghostbusters game that John unboxed on his show and used to have in his well-known basement arcade (Hey Guys! We’re in the basement.)

The rest of the main room was filled with a great blend of classics, such as the iconic Frogger, Pole Position and Super Mario Bros., shooters like Aliens Extermination, Time Crisis 3 and Big Buck Safari, drivers like Crazy Taxi and Crusin’ Exotica and even Skee-Ball.

The arcade portion of the Hangar is going through a transition. Part of the main arcade was turned into a brewery. John and Jay are in the process of opening a second room of games that includes things like the always fun Golden Tee and Arctic Thunder. The duo plans to add even more games to this second room in the near future.

As I mentioned earlier, there was a two hour wait for lunch so needless to say my family and I didn’t eat or drink at The Hangar, but it looked like it had a massive beer selection. I could see it being a great place to hang out had there not been a thousand people there. If you’re in the area, John and Jay’s arcade is definitely worth checking out.

This was the first of many college road trips this summer, most with arcade visits along the way. Next up is a cool newer arcade in Connecticut. The games have already been played and the pictures taken. Stay tuned. Thanks for reading!

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