Anyone looking to catch up on old times with private parties, and especially offices that are trying to plan their holiday get-togethers, are scrambling to find places in Montreal right now (just try to get a reservation). As 2021 comes to a close, however, a new spot has opened that's totally different: Arcade Mile-X Arcade is a private arcade inside of a Mile-Ex warehouse that you can rent for parties.
Fully rentable with dozens of games, it's a BYOB space (and bringing your own food but they are currently on the lookout for catering partners) where up to 50 guests can get exclusive access to the entire arcade of 40+ machines (full list here) and the space's eternal summer lounge for a full evening—equipped with a high-fidelity jukebox filled with rare records, a full-on 1979 Chevy van, and the ultimate 20-hour long pinball drive-in film—for a flat rate of $1,250.
As for current COVID restrictions? All guests that are age 12+ must be fully vaccinated, the arcade is thoroughly disinfected before your arrival, and there's staff on hand wearing a mask at all times.
Where did Arcade Mile-X Arcade come from?
The new operation comes from Charlotte Fillmore-Handlon and Adam Kiesler of North Star Machines à Piastres, Justin Evans (co-founder of LANDR, an Montreal AI music company), and Charles Bombardier. It's billed as a private free-play arcade located inside North Star Machines à Piastres' storage warehouse, rentable for BYOB parties and a place to purchase your own arcade machines.
"We had been looking all around the city for spaces since the spring, but nothing was quite right," Fillmore-Handlon told Time Out Montreal in an interview. "Too far, or not big enough, or too big. Then in September we found the listing for our space and knew it was perfect. We moved in October 1st and have been going full tilt ever since."
"The best part of this space is its versatility. We can host everything from after work 5-7 to birthday parties to office holiday parties and beyond. It is a super wild place where everyone can have fun."
A dream to create a space for arcade parties
During the pandemic, the owners were forced to close their flagship bar, North Star Machines à Piastres on Saint-Laurent Boulevard. That didn't mean they would stop dealing in pinball machines—the group made headlines in late 2020 by doing home pinball deliveries. "Adam and I repurposed the space as a pinball workshop. We worked in the bar repairing games that we then rented out to folks at home," Fillmore-Handlon explains. "We also spent a lot of time in the bar alone playing pinball - our own private arcade."
"We spent this time dreaming of a space where we could have our ideal pinball workshop," she adds. They started to work out every aspect they wanted: Ground level, so it would be easy to move games in and out of; lots of room for games and replacement parts; a showroom to display their extended collection; and, lastly, a private arcade where they could entertain their friends when restrictions would permit it.
"It would be a space that people could rent out and enjoy it with their own friends and family that they missed so dearly during the cold winter nights of the pandemic. It would be a place that would welcome all-ages, so parents could pass on their love of pinball and arcade games to their kids."
But why a private arcade?
"We built North Star Machines à Piastres as a welcoming, inclusive space where pinball is a mode of community-building, a way to connect with strangers and new friends," Fillmore-Handlon says. She's right: The bar's been known to host pinball competitions, and those that love the place go back regularly.
"With Arcade Mile-X Arcade, we wanted to create something slightly different, but with that same community feel. We wanted to create a private, comfortable space to share and play games with your friends, something a little more personal, intimate, a space to share with your community."
Arcade Mile-X Arcade is available for rent on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 020-6560 de l'Esplanade Avenue. The space can be rented via their website here, and the full list of games available to play when you rent is here.