Devon Wiese has a list of reasons why he enjoys working at Analog Arcade Bar — and it's a long one. As an owner and operator, Wiese feels in charge of something here. He has learned how to make specialty drinks, like White Russians and Old Fashioneds. As a long-time Coors Light guy, he’s starting to taste-test craft brews they serve. He can even play his favorite pinball machine during a break if he wants to.
And the best part? He gets to people-watch.
“There are a lot of first dates here, and that’s really fun to see,” Wiese said. “They meet at the bar, and it’s awkward at first and they get drinks and get warmed up to the idea of playing a game. It’s actually a really good place for a first date, though."
At Analog, a bar at the corner of 3rd and Brady streets in Davenport that's full of old-school pinball machines and classic arcade games, Wiese witnesses the clashing cultures of partying and video-game-playing.
He sees drunk people get overly attached to a round of Jenga or Mario Kart, and run over to the bar to eagerly ask for more tokens and a beer in the same sentence. He sees 21st birthday parties and groups of 80-year-olds playing games from yesteryear.
“People are really taken aback by the concept at first,” Wiese said. “And then they just run around like they’re kids except with alcohol. People are kind of in a daze because there’s so much to look at.”
Analog opened in October, and has been winning over Quad-Citians ever since with a note of nostalgia in a bar setting.
“We’re definitely a popular place, because it’s something so different,” he said. “We’re packed on weekends and there’s almost always a line out the door if it’s nice outside.”
And Wiese is the guy who keeps it running.
He spends his time serving drinks, fixing malfunctioning games, doing office work, cleaning up and refilling stashes of coins. During the remodel of the space, which was once Schneff's Jewelers, Wiese and the other co-owners did most of the construction on their own.
"I feel very attached to this place, because we worked hard to set it up ourselves," he said. "I'm not joking when I say my blood is on these walls somewhere."
Sitting across from Wiese at a shuffleboard table, he says he left work at 6 a.m. earlier that day and got back around 2 p.m. He’s tired, but can’t imagine taking a day off.
“There’s too much to do, and too much to see,” he said. “And I like the stress.”
A year ago, Wiese was making deliveries for Jimmy John's. His boss at the sandwich shop, Dan Bush, asked him to come along for a venture into the arcade bar business. Now, at 27, Wiese is basically his own boss.
“I had never worked at a bar before, I didn’t know how to make any drinks,” he said. “I kind of got thrown into a weird bar for my first time. I mean, this isn’t just any bar.”
The day before Analog opened, Wiese had a bit of a panic attack, he said.
“There’s always a little bit of worry when you leave your job for another job, and I didn’t have a lot of relevant experience,” he said. “But I fell in love with it."
Each night when the bar fills up, Wiese takes a moment to pinch himself.
"I definitely feel like I'm part of something big in the Quad-Cities," he said. "There was nothing to do in the Quad-Cities like this. You can go to a bar and drink with your friends, but there wasn’t a spot like this and I think people were craving it."
If you go
Analog Arcade Bar is located at 302 Brady St., Davenport. It’s open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. from Monday to Friday, noon to 2 a.m. Saturday and noon to midnight on Sunday. Must be 21 or older to enter.