Arcade Asheville closing kitchen, becoming private club

Arcade Asheville is phasing out the food and becoming a private nightclub, says owner Joshua Aaron. Aaron says that the days of the Arcade being open before 5 p.m. are likely numbered, and daytime hours of operation on weekdays may end as early as next week. Weekend hours — and half-price drink menu on Sundays — will remain the same. 

The Arcade menu, laden with sandwiches, tater tot nachos and other alcohol-soaking (and often pork-enhanced) offerings was not, it seems, holding its own. “From a dollars-and-cents perspective, it doesn’t make sense,” Aaron says of the foodservice side of his business. “We’re constantly listening to our customers, and what they say is that they love us as a venue or bar and don’t care so much about eating here.” There are plenty of surrounding restaurants that focus on food and do it well, says Aaron. “And we want to focus on what we do well.” That, says Aaron, entails providing a good time and focusing on making drinks for an often demanding weekend crowd. Aaron says that a limited finger-food menu will also be offered, but the real energy will be put into keeping the nightclub party scene going in a safe (yet still fun) manner.

Aaron says that the Arcade tends to hit capacity by 10 p.m. every weekend, and some locals and regulars have complained that the packed and occasionally rowdy scene felt overwhelming at those times. “As the popularity goes through the roof, we attract people from all corners of the map,” he says. “But we’re listening to our local downtown demographic. [Switching to a] private club will allow us to keep the people that are good for our business and filter out the clientele that inevitably give a bar a bad name. We have no shortage of business; we just want the right business.”

“We want Asheville to know that we’re taking care of them like they take care of us. We don’t want to see our business deteriorate for some short money — that ride only lasts so long if we’re not catering to the people that are here to stay,” says Aaron. “We want Asheville to know that we listen. We opened this place as a bar for this town.”

For more information about Arcade Asheville, visit

(editor’s note: It appears that the folks of Arcade are answering questions about the application process in the comment field below.)


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14 thoughts on “Arcade Asheville closing kitchen, becoming private club

  1. Hal

    I give this place a the most.
    Nothing ever lasts in that location. A lot of people just do not like it. (that I’ve heard)
    I’ve never even been and that is mostly because it is in such a strange location.

  2. java

    Where do I sign up to become a member? I promise I’ll behave! Hope the birthday party is still on this weekend for Michele!

  3. Arcade Asheville

    hey java!

    just stop in to the bar and ask for an application. literally takes 2 seconds!! and thank you for the continued support. – joshua

  4. Arcade Asheville

    Orbit DVD, YES! Kids are still allowed in before 9pm. We will probably be opening at 5pm Mon-Fri but Sat and Sun are still game on at noon!!

  5. I’ve never even been and that is mostly because it is in such a strange location.

    How will you know it won’t last if you’ve never been. It’s PACKED on weekend nights. I’m jealous.

  6. Arcade Asheville

    There’s no cost for membership during this transitional period, so hurry and get yours!! You can get an application from your server or bartender any time–it takes less than 30 seconds to fill out.
    p.s.: if you drop in between 10pm-2am Friday-Sunday, we’ve got a staffer who does nothing but hand out and receive applications during those insanely busy hours. They’ll take care of you as you come in the door! Easy peasy.

  7. Orbit DVD, YES! Kids are still allowed in before 9pm. We will probably be opening at 5pm Mon-Fri but Sat and Sun are still game on at noon!!

    Thanks for the info. My boy loves the place as much as I do.

  8. Jason

    This is probably a good idea. There were an increasing number of meat-heads and pushers there on weekends. It was getting sketchy. I haven’t gone there on a weekend in a few months, hopefully this will help.

  9. I’ve loved it the handful of times I’ve been, but yeah recently it has gotten a little Jersey Shore-esque over there and that has definitely turned me away before even getting in line. I like this idea. However I will miss the grilled cheese and bacon.

  10. Frankie

    I am pretty sure it is illegal to offer free memberships in NC…. be careful, also the games need more maintenance, the few times I went there, there were several mechanical issues.

  11. Hello, Frank from another local place here :)

    You’ve got to charge something for a membership. Usually places will charge a dollar during transition (that’s what we did….).

    I like your place a lot and want to support you guys! I would hate to see you get busted for something small like that….

    Also, we have recently gone private, and I handled the transition, including ALE/ABC compliance and all that fun stuff. If you guys would like any advice or help doing the transformation, please shoot me a message and I’d be happy to help out. We learned a lot of lessons during our transition, and I’d be happy to share what we learned. Just let me know…. :)

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