Bar Review: The Archives (Burlington, VT)

Bar Review of The Archives in Burlington, VT.

Spending a long weekend in Burlington, VT is never a bad idea, and like most trips we had venues of interest pretty well mapped out. We knew where we wanted to drink, we knew where we wanted to eat and we knew where we wanted to drink some more. However, trips rarely run exactly to schedule and sometimes you end up not having enough time to go everywhere you planned and other times you end up with a little extra time on your hands. When the latter happens you might pop into a place that wasn’t on your agenda, which is how we ended up at The Archives.

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The Archives is a “barcade” for lack of a better term, meaning they serve alcohol and have a full selection of vintage arcade games. Maybe you’ve heard of places like this popping up lately, as it is a trend I’m seeing more and more, but The Archives is different and in my opinion better. Many barcades focus on the games, but want to appeal to a nostalgic adult audience so they offer alcohol and sometimes pub food. They are fun places and I’m not crapping on them, but they rarely will appeal to a craft beer enthusiast. The Archives is a full service bar with 24 draught beers and a large craft cocktail menu. They put every bit as much emphasis on great craft beer and drinks as they do on the games.

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The room itself is pretty much a square with the bar portion in the middle of the room and the arcade games lining the outside of the room. It’s a decent size space with brick walls and a cool vibe that never seems claustrophobic. The games themselves make up most of the decor, as it should be. The Archives is a true bar, with no food offerings other than a very nice cheese plate.

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When you start looking over the draught list, that’s when things get interesting. The 24 draughts they offer feature some of the rarest stuff around (see current list here), including things like Bruery Terreux Frederick H. Berliner Weiss, Allagash James Bean (Bourbon barrel-aged Belgian tripel), SingleCut Beersmiths Heavy Boots of Lead (Imperial Stout) and several beers from Hill Farmstead. Burlington has a great craft beer scene, but you’d be hard pressed to find a much better selection anywhere in town.

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When you combine the beer list with the really innovative cocktail menu and fun atmosphere it makes The Archives a unique experience that just might be the change of pace you’ve been craving even if you didn’t know it. After all, where else can you and a friend struggle mightily at Contra (it’s really hard) while sipping on a Boneyard Hop Venom (Imperial IPA), or maybe team up with another bar patron to defeat Golden Axe while drinking a Culmination 4 & 20 Black IPA. If you’re that guy in the group that always has to be a little different than play a round of South Park Pinball while sucking down the latest hard cider from Shacksbury. These are the things that dreams are made of and you can live them at The Archives.

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