Eater Chicago | Ashok Selvam | January 28, 2020

Eight U.S. cities could get hotels with arcade bars and restaurants

Chicago is one of eight U.S. cities that will get a hotel branded by Atari, the beloved American-born video game maker, a news release announces. Details are scarce, but construction should begin this year on the first location in Phoenix, Arizona. The hotels will include fine dining restaurants and arcade bars, according to Fortune.

The company has yet to release the addresses of any of the hotel sites and an Atari spokesperson didn’t return a message for comment. So it’s not a guarantee the Chicago location will be within the city’s borders. Maybe there’s a proper parcel in suburban Rosemont.

There aren’t any details about the food either. That leaves one to assume all the food will be in pellet form, like Pac-Man. Besides Chicago and Phoenix, the news release mentioned Austin, Texas; Denver; Las Vegas; San Francisco; San Jose, California; and Seattle as other cities where Atari plans to build hotels. The idea is reminiscent of Disney World’s Contemporary Resort in Orlando, Florida. The hotel was once home to the world’s largest arcade.

Atari is currently a subsidiary of a French company. But in the ‘80s, the video game company reigned supreme with home consoles like the Atari 2600. The company was later usurped by others including Nintendo and Sega which occupied the gaming landscape where Sony and Microsoft currently roam. Atari’s game roster includes Asteroids, Centipede, Missile Command, Pong, and RollerCoaster Tycoon.

The company’s partnering with GSD Group and True North Studio on the hotels, and showed off renderings with the company’s iconic logo. They look very boutique-like; perhaps they will rebrand an existing property. The hotels represent another avenue the company is taking to stay relevant. They are to be aimed at video game players: select hotels will host eSports tournaments, as well as businesspeople. Atari also promises “fully immersive” experiences at the hotels with VR and the latest tech.

Chicago has a history with video games. NetherRealm Studios (formerly Midway Games), the studio behind Mortal Kombat, is headquartered in Avondale — near the restaurant space that formerly housed Hot Doug’s and is currently Cafe Tola. Namco, the company that created Pac-Man, also has an arcade bar/restaurant — formerly called Level 257 — in suburban Schaumburg.

As Robert De Niro’s Nobu Chicago has shown, hotels take time. Nobu — the swanky celebrity hangout brand that features sushi restaurants — first announced in 2014 its plans for Fulton Market and it still hasn’t opened. Video game companies are also used to hold-ups. Polygon pointed out that Atari has seen delays on its new next-generation console. It shouldn’t be a surprise if it’s a while before Atari plugs into Chicago or other cities. Stay tuned for updates.

Atari Hotel, address and opening date unknown.