Dearborn residents gear up for Ready Player One opening

Photo courtesy of Wael Gharbie
Dearborn residents and Ready Player One owners Wael Gharbie (left) and Mohamed Badaoui prepare for the May opening of their arcade and bar in Detroit.

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Two residents are venturing out of the city to share their lifetime gaming obsession with other games by opening their own arcade and bar.

Wael Gharbie, 31, and Mohamed Badaoui, 30, began their project to open Ready Player One two years ago and planning for a May opening inside the Globe Tobacco Building, 407 E. Fort St. in Detroit.

“The design will be an industrial feel with inspiration taken from the style and history of the building we are in, the Globe Building,” Gharbie said. “The idea came from us growing up being lifelong gamers and then seeing the idea pop up in most major cities across the country and not seeing one in Detroit.

Gharbie explained that the arcade’s name, “came from a popular phrase that is prevalent in most multiplayer arcade games. Ernest Cline also used it as a title for his best selling novel.”

Inside the building, the 3,600-square-foot area will house at least 30 arcade games, 10 pinball machines, and room for 65 sitting customers for the restaurant and bar.

Some of the possible games include Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, The Simpsons, WWF Royal Rumble, Gorgar and Super Mario Bros.

The full menu details for the bar are to be determined but will feature a chef inspired food with craft beer and cocktails.

While there will be no cover change for the arcade, tokens will be given to customers who pay for drinks and food as they play.

“Detroit was on the rise and we didn’t think of a better place that the concept would better fit,” Gharbie said. “We wanted to be a part of everything that is going on. We hope to accomplish our goal of opening a successful arcade and bar in Detroit that offers another form of entertainment with the focus on approachability and nostalgia.”

For its initial opening, possible hours of operation will be 3 p.m. to midnight on the weekdays and 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekends. The plan is to have Ready Player One open to all ages and then only to 21 and up about 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. daily.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)