What: Press Play, vintage video game arcade and night club, opening
When: 5 p.m. – 2 a.m. Friday
Where: 1005 Pearl St., Boulder
Specials: The first 25 in the door get tickets to Saturday’s CU game
W hat’s one way to make hours of playing old-school video games — like Pacman, Donkey Kong and Galaga — even more awesome?
Just add booze.
That’s the concept behind Press Play, 1005 Pearl St., Boulder, a new vintage video game arcade/night club opening up Friday night on Pearl Street.
With a handful of classic games, pinball machines and two custom-built giant Jenga tables, Press Play will join the ranks of 1Up, 1925 Blake St., in Denver, with the newest bar trend of enhancing playtime with drinks and dancing.
Taking over the space previously occupied by ‘Round Midnight, Press Play is the brainchild of locals Jesse Gossett and Mike Boselli.
Boulder natives and best-friends-turned-businessmen, Boselli and Gossett were inspired by the vibe of the basement space.
“We used to go to ‘Round Midnight when we were 20, 21,” Gossett said. “When you go down there, it just feels like those arcades used to feel. It felt like Pinball Palace when we were kids, raiding our parents change jars for money to play games.”
The duo wants to preserve that era when a couple of quarters were enough for a night of fun.
Games will cost 25 cents, with prizes like bar tabs as rewards for high scores, which will earn the player a spot on the winner’s board. Prices for pinball will vary, but 25 cents of every game will go towards a jackpot to be doled out frequently.
A daily happy hour will feature $2 domestic drafts and $3 you-call-its. With no cover and top-shelf liquors available for less than $7, Boselli and Gossett hope Press Play will become a place where young professionals and college kids can coexist peacefully, without spending a fortune.
“We want to make it a place that’s come as you are, with good service and affordability,” Gossett said. “That’s our main focus; the throwback.”
“We’re trying to keep a lot of what ‘Round Midnight was known for, but putting our own twist on it. We’re trying to bring back the grunge to it.”
‘Round Midnight originally opened as a jazz bar in August of 1991. After a short stint as a pool bar, the bar began hosting bands and DJ’s in ’93, eventually transforming into a nightclub that was known for hip-hop music and a vibrant dance scene. The space was sold by owner Tim Fitzgerald to Boselli and Gossett on Aug. 24.
Press Play will host weekly and monthly theme parties, complete with contests and cash prizes, the owners said.
Every Thursday will be “Ladies of the ’80s” night, with a $350 cash prize for three ladies with the best ’80s outfits. And every fifth of the month, a “Cinco de Drinko” party will feature piñatas on timers above the dance floor dispensing a cash drop.
“I wanted to do it with baseball bats, but apparently that’s a liability,” joked Gossett.
While frequent contests and monthly cash drops sound generous, that’s just the beginning of what these two have planned.
“We want to do a promotion where we do a drawing and buy someone their books for the semester. I’ve never seen anyone do that.”
“We’ve got a lot of good ideas floating around,” Boselli added. “We really want to bring a sense of community within the nightlife.”
Though they’ve spent several years pursuing ventures outside of Boulder, Gossett said they are Buffs at heart.
“We’d love to become a staple in Boulder,” Gossett said. “My dad, uncle, sister, and I went to CU. My dad got his Vietnam draft number sitting in The Sink.”
Their families still live in town, only a few houses away from one another, continuing the bond that started when the two men were just toddlers.
“His mom was my nanny,” Boselli said. “Our families had barbecues, took boats out on the Rez. They’re still close.”
Boselli and Gossett spent their childhood mere houses away, riding their bikes all over town. Boselli graduated from Fairview High in ’96, Gossett from Boulder High in ’97.
Gossett went off to college and then into the service industry. Boselli got his start in the family business managing a string of McDonald’s restaurants in and around the Denver area.
Careers aside, the two men’s lives followed strangely similar patterns.
“We both got married at the same time. We have sons the same age apart as we are,” Gossett said. ” We both got divorced around the same time.”
Despite several moves by both men around the country, the two have always remained close.
“We’ve always gravitated back together,” Gossett said. “Our lives have always gravitated back together.”
Transforming their friendship into a business relationship was a logical step for both of them.
“We always said we’d open up a surf shop, but we both ended up in the service industry,” Gossett said. “Things just kind of rolled into place.”
Boselli sold his McDonald’s franchise in Arvada, providing financing for the project. Then the space on Pearl Street opened up, and things moved along quickly from there.
“We found location, got the temporary liquor license and are doing our build out in one month,” Gossett said. “We open two weeks to the day after we get handed the keys and took possession.”
It’s been a hectic two weeks for the pair, but they are confident about the future of Press Play.
“We both bring different aspects together,” Boselli said. “Jesse worked in the service industry for years, so he knows that, and I’ve got the business side from working at McDonalds.”
“This is our first venture together, hopefully the first of many. It’s good to be back in Boulder together. It’s good to be home.”