Picture a local sports bar where you could enjoy live music, partake in game tournaments, and even play vintage arcade games at the same location.
Ben Metzger, a Corvallis resident and owner of Metzger Greenbuild, is currently in the middle of creating such a venue known as The Dam, an interactive, landmark experience in an already historical building located right by the OSU campus.
“We want to give people a reason to go somewhere, not just pick something at random,” Metzger said.
Soon to be located at the historical Sivetz Coffee building across from the downtown Safeway, The Dam sports bar and arcade will feature multiple interactive tournament games such as cornhole, foosball, and ping-pong.
Popular within the East Coast sports bar scene, the bean bag tossing game cornhole will be a cornerstone for Metzger’s proposed venue. To enhance the social spectator aspect of the location, The Dam’s upstairs balcony will feature bar seating overlooking the main floor so attendees can spectate during tournaments and enjoy concerts in the upper risers. Outdoor seating will also be available where the building’s former loading dock currently resides.
According to Metzger, the video game arcade will be on the second level of the building and stock over a dozen classic arcade cabinets. Metzger also mentioned that there would be at least five pinball machines.
Decorations related to sports and video games will also make the atmosphere more unique. The first level will contain art highlighting local sports team themes including the Oregon State Beavers and Portland Trailblazers, while the upstairs area will feature video game artwork to mesh with the arcade.
As for tournaments, monthly cornhole events will be sponsored by the Corvallis Cornhole Club, an organization founded nearly a month ago.
“We’ve had a couple of tournaments and people have loved them,” Metzger said. “Through the website we hope to get people thinking ahead of when they actually want to play.”
The Dam will focus on a crowd-spectator business model, which allows customers to see and be seen. There will also be on-site sign-up sheets for tournaments for those who don’t register online. Metzger believes many players will face off against friends and competitors they know, but that on-site tournament registration adds more unknown elements to the game.
“You could very well just face a stranger,” Metzger added.
Currently scheduled to open its doors sometime this fall, Metzger’s ongoing renovation project to both redecorate the location and implement seismic improvements continues as time progresses. The Dam’s official Facebook page also features updates on the sports bar’s progress.
Once completed, Metzger will work to make The Dam a unique community staple for people from all over to enjoy. When locals think of Corvallis, he wants them to think of The Dam.
“We’re kind of gearing this to be a work of art,” Metzger said, referring to the establishment.
By Sean Bassinger
“It’s About Dam Time!”
Back in our Feb. 7 issue, I penned a piece that bemoaned Corvallis’ lack of pinball. With The Dam’s imminent opening later this year, we in the local pinball community might see a dream come true.
“It is really exciting to see that someone is finally stepping up and creating a vintage arcade here in Corvallis,” says local pinball technician and operator Brian Morrissette. “It will undoubtedly bring forth a rapid increase in the gaming culture around Corvallis. I’m really looking forward to pinball tournaments as well as friendly competitions with the arcade video games. Having been a part of the arcade community for 10 years now, it is very encouraging to see that Corvallis finally pick up this torch.”
Not only will The Dam have a handful or more of pinball machines, but they’ll be great models. Having sold one to The Dam myself, and Morrissette hunting down others in addition to operating his own machines there, things in in great shape. Although nothing is set in stone, you might be able to find vintage Gottliebs such as Black Hole (with its famous lower playfield), Panthera, and Mars: God of War in addition to other greats such as White Water, Flight 2000, Mata Hari, and Stellar Wars. I’ve been to quite a few arcades that have oodles of machines, but when only one in every five is good, what’s the point? Statistically speaking, you’ve never pinball’d like you’re going to pinball at The Dam.
By Johnny Beaver