The scent of barbecue and the sound of boisterous laughter meets industrial-style lighting, reflecting off the vibrant painted walls as rock music ricochets throughout the spacious room. Children are playing board games while their parents gather and dine with friends. College students are playing pingpong and pool, only heightening the sound of the laughter.

“This is the place,” Tim Jopling, employee and 2009 JMU alumnus, said. “If I was growing up and had a social epicenter in my hometown, this is what I would want.”

Ruby’s Arcade is located on South Main Street in downtown Harrisonburg. It’s tucked away next to the back patio of Ruby’s Lounge with signs and eager employees to guide you there.

“[It’s] a place for adults and young adults to come play games, eat really great food,” Mike Comfort, the manager of Ruby’s Arcade, said. “It’s a casual atmosphere.”

Clementine Cafe was first opened eight years ago, followed by Ruby’s Lounge three years later and Ruby’s Arcade this March.  The space features a dining area, full bar and an assortment of games.

“It’s been an interesting thing for our identity because we are a little arcade, a little Ruby’s Lounge and a little Clementine’s,” Jopling said.

However, Ruby’s Arcade gives off a different vibe, compared to Clementine Cafe and Ruby’s Lounge.

Ruby’s Arcade is “really kid friendly but we get all kinds of people in here,” Aaron Austin, a server and bartender, said. “It’s something that’s different then just going to a bar and getting a drink with your friends. There is so much more to do down here. It’s fun and super relaxed.”

Clark worked with a local company to put together the arcade. They used antique 1950s machines that they got from a bowling alley in Baltimore to adorn the arcade. In addition, all of the table tops and bar tops are made out of old bowling lanes. They also have three refurbished pool tables which will be 100 years old this year. Ruby’s Arcade intertwines industrial and vintage-style interior which creates a retro atmosphere.


The menu matches the decor.

“We do everything kind of unique here, again with our focus being on pizza, barbeque and big apps that are fun to share,” Jopling said.

All of the appetizers are enough to feed two to three people. Even their mozzarella sticks are described to be “a pound and a half.”

According to Jopling and Austin, everything is made in-house daily. On Sundays they sell half-priced pizza and offer a lunch buffet from Tuesday to Friday to appeal to customers on a budget.

In addition, Ruby’s Arcade offers pitchers of beer, making them a popular host in Harrisonburg. Several JMU sports teams including both the male and female soccer teams, have held parties there. Ruby’s Arcade also hosts tournaments where you can win gift certificates and cash prizes. They offer a pingpong tournament, foosball and Parlor Championship.

They also have a free selection of communal board games, and guests are invited to bring their own.

“You would think it would just be a bunch of families but we have a bunch of 25- and 26- year- olds who are like, ‘We’ll get a pitcher and do Connect 4,’” Austin said.

Ruby’s Arcade attracts people of all ages to both their food and games, bringing a sense of uniqueness to the Harrisonburg area.

Contact Kate Formeller at