Sunday, May 10, 2009

Eat. Drink. Play

For Mother's Day Tony was taking me out for lunch. Son Donald is the only one in town, and since he didn't have to work he came along. I thought I knew where we were going, but our destination turned out to be a surprise. Today I went to Dave & Busters to eat lunch and play games with the family.

Tony's choice of restaurants was unconventional, but I was excited. I've long wanted to check out Dave & Busters, which I'd heard could be compared to a Chuck E. Cheese for adults. There's a restaurant, a bar area, and a huge game floor. Although minors are welcome, they have to be accompanied by an adult, and they aren't allowed in at all after 10 PM.

The Dave & Busters parking lot was quite empty when we arrived close to noon. There was no wait for a table. The waitress came quickly to take our drink orders, and we were ready to order our food when she returned with the drinks. The promotion that's running now pairs select meals and a $10.00 game card for $15.99, so we chose from that part of the menu. It didn't take long for the food to arrive; since we were hungry it didn't take long for the food to be gone. After we settled the bill, it was time to go play. We took our glasses of iced tea into the game area, since the waitress said we get them refilled there too.

The game area is a little like walking into a Las Vegas casino. The room was dark, and games were flashing lights and making noises on every side. However, unlike a casino this room was family-friendly. There seemed to be something for everyone. There were sports, action, and driving games, vintage video games and new virtual reality ones. A couple of games allowed you to play head-to-head against other people. There was a whole section of "pusher" games where you strategically drop tokens in the hopes that tokens will be pushed over the edge and several variations of the claw game where you try to grab a prize with a mechanical claw. Some games gave you tickets, and some didn't.

Since it wasn't busy, we didn't have to wait for any of the games. To play you swipe your card through a machine, which deducts the correct number of credits. If your card runs dry, there are machines to add credits; they accept cash or credit cards. You can also use the same machines check the balance on a card.

I never have luck with video games, so I concentrated on the carnival-style games. The three of us played some skeeball and a Super Trivia game together. Donald and Tony played a shooter game, and he played Deal or No Deal with me. The three of us teamed up again (for several rounds) on a horse racing game. At this point our cards were just about depleted, so we searched for games that didn't cost a lot of credits. When all of the cards were empty, it was time to go to the "Winners Circle" to cash in the tickets we'd collected.

There was a wide variety of prizes, ranging from the usual carnival junk to name-brand video games. The clerk determined how many tickets we had, then swiped my card to store the prize value on it. There were enough tickets that each of us could get a prize (I picked out a Dave and Buster logo coffee cup with a lid) and have a few left over; when we checked out the cashier swiped our card to deduct the value. If I ever go back and use the same card (which is reloadable), I'll already have some tickets waiting for me.

I had the most wonderful time hanging out with my family. I think we started a new Mother's Day tradition; next year I hope more of the family can actually be here.


  1. What a fun [and different!] idea for Mother's Day. I often think that mums must get sick of the traditional breakfast in bed or brunches or whatever [that's not really my style].

    We have a Dave & Busters in Toronto, but you have to have a car to get there so I've never been [also I don't think they serve food - just snacks]. I love, love, love Skee-ball.

  2. Wonderful to spend time with the men you love, even the young ones (sons!). I spent the whole day with both, and loved every minute, glad that you did too!

  3. I'd rather meet my "men" at their level than have them politely go to a ladies lunch with me.