From arcades where you can get a drink to coffee shops that turn into pubs at night, Portland has many interesting places to go.

One such place is Ground Control. Ground Control started out its life on 12th Street as an arcade. There the company brought back classic games for members of Generation X in the late 1990s. It moved to 511 NW Couch St. in the early 2000s.

Since then it has gone through a few evolutions, first by adding beer and making it an over-21 location. Later it added a second floor and a full menu.

Ground Control is open from noon to 2:30 a.m. All ages are admitted until 5 p.m., after which only those over 21 will be admitted.

Ground Control has gone from carrying a few brands of beer in bottles to a full bar. Wine, liquor and beer are all offered in the arcade.

Whether you’re an older person reliving their misspent youth by playing video games or a twenty-something interested in retro games and craft brews on tap, Ground Control offers a unique Portland experience. The coin-operated video arcade and bar can’t get much more Portland.

Besides arcade operations on select nights, Ground Control offers events, music and special party arrangements.

More information can be found at

Of course, for the under-21 crowd after 5 p.m., there is the Avalon Theater, located at 3451 SE Belmont St.

Its hours of operation are Sunday through Friday from noon to midnight, and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight. The Avalon is part of the Wunderland chain of nickel arcades located throughout Oregon and Washington.

What makes the Avalon different than other Wunderlands is that it also has two movie theaters playing second run movies at reduced rates. These are often movies that are a couple months old but have not hit the DVD market yet.

Movie admission is $2.50 for those 11 and under, and $3 for everyone else. Game room admission is $2.75 for those aged 12 and up, and $2.25 for those between the ages of 5 and 11.

The nickel arcade and theater may be a good place for students with children to take their offspring.

At about 8 p.m. the crowd changes. Raunchy comedies and other adult themed movies are run at these later times.

Revelers who find entertainment on Belmont often go in to the nickel arcade to play video games.

Sometimes ski ball is the order of the day. The Avalon has several ways to win prizes. The ski ball and other machines deliver tickets, and there are claw machines with balls of different colors worth from 30 to 90 tickets a piece.

You can win everything from chintzy toys to cool lava lamps and remote control helicopters, giving off a slightly carnivalesque atmosphere.

There are three separate rooms for games both of the ticket gaining and video varieties.

The theater is located near pubs, restaurants, pool halls and bars, as well as coffee shops and unique teahouses.

This will make a great part of a hangout day in the Belmont District for young college students of varying ages.


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