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Dave & Buster's reboot is a petri dish for the video-game chain

The fourteen-year-old Dave & Buster's at 2000 South Colorado Boulevard just became the chain's first location to get a major overhaul. The redesign is the initial phase of the company's rebranding, and while there's no schedule yet for rolling out the changes through the other 56 locations, Sean McCullough, regional operations manager for Dave & Buster's, sees the Denver spot as a sort of petri dish. "We've actually thrown everything we can at it," he says. "We'll try to see what's relevant, what continues to push toward the future and what doesn't. We will probably refine that, and refine our findings as we figure out what really does work and what doesn't, and move forward with the brand."

With this update, the original oak-and-brass accoutrements spread throughout the 65,000-square-foot venue have been phased out in favor of a much hipper, almost club-like vibe. Various zones have been redefined; the biggest addition is D&B Sports, which has three thirteen-foot high-definition projection screens — some of the biggest in the state, according to McCullough. This area used to hold pool tables, but the billiards player is an almost extinct individual at this point, he says, and the number of tables at Dave & Buster's has been reduced from nineteen to three. But those three are each $15,000 tables.

Dave's Arcade, which was formerly the Midway, features some games made specifically for Dave & Buster's, like Fruit Ninja, a popular game for mobile phones and iPads that was re-created in arcade form. The arcade's Game Bar was modernized with white-granite bar tops; customers go to the Swag Room to redeem their tickets for prizes, which include everything from smaller trinkets to Xboxes and snowboards. Next to the arcade, the Rec Room sports an old-school feel, with leather couches, wood paneling, ping-pong and pinball tables. Other zones include EAT at Buster's, the main dining area where oversized red booths can be reserved for parties, and FUNction Rooms, which can be rented out for private events or corporate meetings.

Dave and Buster's got its start in 1982 in Dallas — although the concept was born in Little Rock. "Buster had a restaurant near a train station," McCullough explains. "Dave owned Slick Willy's, which was right across the street. They watched the traffic patterns. You'd sneak into Dave's place with Buster's food under your arm, or you'd go play games and then you'd go eat at Buster's and put your name on the waiting list and go back and play games. They saw the traffic patterns and thought it would be great to figure out where we'd go and do this."

And now the company's next chapter could be written in Denver. But fair warning: Both the Denver and Westminster locations are 21-and-over after 10 p.m.

Club scout: Over the last few years, the former Joe's Buffet space, at 753 Santa Fe Drive, has gone through several incarnations, including the Mystery Nightclub, Club 753 and, most recently, the Sound Kitchen. Marcus Giavanni has now taken over the three-story spot, which he's dubbing The Cow. He says his 15,000-square-foot sports bar and entertainment complex should be open by the end of the year.

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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon