One of D.C.’s fastest-growing neighborhoods will soon get a glimpse inside the glitz and glamour of Formula 1 racing. The second U.S. edition of British-born F1 Arcade will permanently park in the Union Market district next summer, transforming a 17,500-square-foot warehouse into a high-octane entertainment complex (440 Penn Street NE) equipped with 80 full-motion race simulators made in collaboration with F1’s motorsport design teams.
A big bar staying open late will sling Champagne cocktails, local beers, and non-alcoholic options under an aptly named “Designated Driver” section. Fancied-up bar food will include items like wagyu beef burger, cauliflower wings slathered with Korean gochujang sauce, and sea bass ceviche. F1 Arcade’s first U.S. edition will open in Boston’s Seaport District in early 2024, followed by D.C. a few months later.
F1 Arcade capitalizes on the prestigious pinnacle of motorsports known as F1 Grand Prix. The elite international racing series, typically synonymous with a tux-wearing Monaco crowd arriving by yacht, came to Miami in 2022 and embarked on a successful stateside expansion track to other cities. Three-day tickets to October’s high-brow race in Austin, featuring a concert from the Killers, start at a whopping $899.
F1 Arcade’s nearly year-old flagship in London bills itself as the world’s first officially-licensed Formula 1 racing bar meant for the masses. A zippy, neon-lit look takes tips from F1’s challenging course circuits around the globe. CEO Adam Breeden, who’s involved in other eating-and-entertainment destinations like Puttshack, Flight Club, AceBounce, and Hijingo, says the immersive new venue “welcomes everyone to take part, regardless of their age or experience.” F1 Arcade will also air watch parties of real races from huge viewing screens and host a weekend DJ series.
D.C. is already packed with places to dine and drink while competing over golf (Penn Quarter, Dupont, Navy Yard), axe-throwing and paint ball (Ivy City), and pickleball (Bryant Street NE), but a racing-themed destination of this size and scale is something totally new. Landlord Edens says its booming Union Market neighborhood welcomes 3.5 million visitors annually.