Raleigh’s Boxcar Bar & Arcade just moved forward with plans for its second location, and it’s going to be in downtown Greensboro.
Boxcar signed a lease yesterday for the former Lotus Lounge nightclub building on West Lewis Street across the street from HQ Greensboro, Gibb’s Hundred Brewing and the forthcoming Greensboro Distilling, building owner Andy Zimmerman said this morning.
Boxcar will open the location under the same name and concept only bigger — it signed for 75 percent of the building, which comes out to 9,219 square feet. The rest of the building in back is already rented. Plans have been underway for a while, Zimmerman said, and in addition to signing a lease, all designs were finalized yesterday and are now in the hands of architects and engineers.
“They’re going to bring another level of energy to downtown,” Zimmerman said, adding that he “kinda talked them out of going to Charlotte first” because this property “just suits them so well.”
Boxcar’s Raleigh location, which is full of arcade games ranging from pinball to air hockey and covers a melange of old-school games in between and boasts a large bar in the center, is near similar businesses as the Greensboro location including HQ Raleigh and Crank Arm Brewing. On Saturday afternoon, Boxcar brimmed with millennials and kids alike as couples battled in skeeball and friends took each other on in Mario Kart. (Coincidentally, I checked it out last weekend for the first time.) Boxcar currently offers more than 70 arcade games and 24 craft beers on draft.
Zimmerman said hopefully Boxcar will be operational in the new space by Aug. 1, adding that it could happen sooner. Plans for the former nightclub building include a front patio and a place for live music in front, a food truck and a meeting space in back that could be used for a different kind of business meeting or a child’s birthday party.
Triad City Beat has been calling for a wider array of entertainment options downtown Greensboro since the paper’s inception, arguing in particular for a bar/arcade that would welcome kids, twentysomethings and everyone else in an inclusive entertainment space. Zimmerman said that call is part of the reason he reached out to businesses such as Boxcar to try and lure them downtown.
“I really do think it’s another game changer, but times two,” Zimmerman said. “It’s not another restaurant opening. It’s a different venue bringing a different energy to downtown. It’s a big jump forward with this venue.”