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A Boardwalk-Themed Arcade Bar Is in the Works for the Wharf

Boardwalk Bar & Arcade comes from the hospitality group behind Cortez and Takoda

The Wharf’s new Boardwalk will serve the same colorful cocktails and nostalgic menu served at the original in Penn Quarter.
The Wharf’s new Boardwalk will showcase the colorful cocktails and nostalgic eats served at the original in Penn Quarter.
Anna Meyer/The Boardwalk
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

By the end of the year, D.C.’s Southwest Waterfront will get a whimsical new bar where customers can balance a “Cotton Candy” Collins in one hand while playing pinball.

Boardwalk Bar & Arcade (715 Water Street SW) comes from Better Hospitality Group, the company that already operates Boardwalk Bar & Eatery in Penn Quarter. That location debuted in fall 2019 and is temporarily closed until D.C.’s COVID-19 restrictions loosen, group CEO Ryan Seelbach tells Eater. BHG also operates Shaw rooftop staples Cortez and Takoda.

At 10,000 square feet, Boardwalk’s incoming outpost at the Wharf development will be nearly twice as big as the original. Throwback games like shuffleboard and Skee-ball will be mixed in with the “latest and greatest arcade games” like hoops and table football, Seelbach says.

BHG executive chef Julio Estrada’s Boardwalk menu will expand threefold at the Wharf, thanks to a much larger kitchen. There will be chili dogs, corn dogs, blackened mahi tacos, thin crust pizza, club and Cuban sandwiches, popcorn, and ice cream sandwiches, plus healthier fare like hummus and a grilled chicken salad.

The cocktail list will loop in carnival flavors like a “Butter Corn” Old Fashioned with butter-washed bourbon. BHG hits like Cortez’s margarita and Takoda’s mule will also make appearances.

Penn Quarter’s bar is flanked with rows of roller skates and a postcard-styled image from prolific D.C. muralist Patrick Owens.
Anna Meyer/The Boardwalk

The Boardwalk at the Wharf will house three bars outfitted with 24 tap lines each for draft beers and cocktails. A wall will be broken down between a former boat shop and a yoga studio to create a blank canvas for Boardwalk. The design from Wood + Starr will pay homage to beachside boardwalks from Ocean City, Maryland, to Santa Monica, California, by using reclaimed woods, pinks, turquoise, and navy tones.

A new retractable glass window system spanning the waterfront side ensures its canopy-covered patio can operate year-round.

“We’ll be one of the largest arcade game venues in the whole city and the largest bar on the Wharf,” he says.

The Eleanor, the adult arcade and bowling bar born in NoMa, just rebooted its year-old outpost in downtown Silver Spring spanning 7,700 square feet.