By Remi Piraino
Joysticks Arcade officially opened its doors to the public in July in Oxford and since the restaurant/bar has become a lively hangout for Oxford residents and gamers alike.
Located in suite D112 of Jackson Avenue’s Highland Court, Joysticks offers a wide selection of games suitable for everyone in the family.
Owner Tony Barragan, who also owns Hempville CBD on Jackson Avenue, has been in the restaurant industry for nearly 19 years. He began planning Joysticks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Pandemic was a very sad time, with so many people being laid off, but I believed that the economy was going to bounce back in a big way — and I knew that I wanted to be a part of it. So I wanted to create something happy, and I started drawing this place out,” Barragan said.
During the day, one can find a mix of Oxford locals scattered throughout the venue enjoying Joysticks’ full food and drink menu. House favorites include their one-of-a-kind carne asada fries and a signature cocktail called Rainbow Road.
In addition to their menu, Joysticks’ video game selection ranges from old school pinball machines to PC Desktop computers, ensuring there is something for everybody who comes inside.
“I was always the pinball or Miss PacMan kid, so I knew what I wanted to do with this place,” he said. “I wanted to attract people that are my age, on top of college students, so this is where the arcades and the pool tables come in and that’s where that idea came from.”
At night, Joysticks breaks into the nightlife scene with their resident DJ cultivating an atmosphere owner Tony Barragan describes as “lit.”
Tony said that he hopes to bring in a larger crowd of students as the 2021 academic year begins.
“I want that college crowd that doesn’t go to the Square or wants something different from the Square, but it’s gonna be hard,” he said. “I’m not here to compete against the Square, I’m just offering something different in a different location for people who want to try something else.”
The DJ spins music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
“I have the alcohol, I have the bar. I have the full tables. I have the DJ, I have the food. I want this to be the place,” he said.