Bartender Amber Nachreiner, co-owner Scott Smith and bartender Elizabeth Cloutier pose in front of their customized Wessie’s Den cooler, loaded with local craft brews. Chance Viles / American Journal

Three Westbrook-based business owners have opened a “barcade” on Brown Street, combining an ’80s-style video arcade with a pub into one neat package.

The goal is for the new Wessie’s Den to be an entertainment destination on the “other side” of the river from downtown, said Scott Smith, one of the owners.

“We want this to be a part of the community, somewhere that if you are working on the boardwalk, you might want to cross the river over here,” Smith said. “We really want to bring some revitalization to Brown Street.”

Wessie’s Den features a big selection of pinball games as well as a number of other popular, old arcade games. The business is new to Brown Street. Chance Viles / American Journal

Featuring a full bar, pinball machines and classic video games like “Punch-Out!!” and “Mortal Kombat,” the business is located at the former site of Live@212, a bar and music venue that closed down during the pandemic.

Smith is big fan of the games. He and his business partners, Kurt Smith and Marc Cole, kept arcade games in their office. The trio started out in the painting business before moving into investing in properties around the city.

“It’s a great stress reliever,” Smith said. “There is a resurgence in arcades, and we wanted this to be a place where someone could eat downtown and then maybe come here for some games.”


They found the vintage games for Wessie’s Den at all types of places, he said, from private homes to resale businesses.

While the partners purposefully selected games that were popular in their heyday, they also collected some arcade games not commonly seen, such as “Ice Cold Beer.”

Wessie’s Den has a large pinball selection, which they will use to host tournaments. The pinball community is tight, co-owner Scott Smith said, and tournaments would be exciting in the city. Chance Viles / American Journal

Wessie’s Den, named in honor of the reported, but never confirmed, 10-foot-long snake seen on the river, is unique to the city, said bartender Elizabeth Cloutier.

“It really brings a sort of vibe to this area,” she said. “There are not places like it in Westbrook.”

Lottery games, like scratch and Powerball tickets, are available next to the Bitcoin ATM. Patrons may use their digital crytocurrency at the bar.

All the games are now playable, though some may work some of the time but not at others, given that a portion of them are more than 30 years old. It all comes with the territory of vintage gaming.


“We really are excited to add more,” Smith said. He has other plans for the barcade as well.

“We are going to add some pinball tournaments,” he said. “We have a kitchen we are going to open in the summer.”

He’d also like to schedule gaming hours just for kids in the future; currently Wessie’s Den is only open to the 21-and-up crowd.

“We want it to be a place to get people out of their house and have a good time, not just be staring down at their phones but interacting,” Smith said.

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