Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chuck E. Cheese for Adults? Dave & Buster's Review

A 7 year old's nirvana?  5 year old's utopia?  3 year old's paradise?  A parent's worst nightmare?  Opinions, of course, run the gamut when Dave & Buster's is the topic.  Growing up, Chuck E. Cheese was the "go to" kids restaurant; what with its skee ball and rudimentary video games like Pacman and Galaga.  But today's kids are a little jaded.  They obtain their Nintendo DSs, Wiis and IPods at an absurdly young age now, just so they don't fall behind their friends.  Chuck E. Cheese is still fun, but the kids are looking for something more exciting, and frankly the food at Chuck E. Cheese is disgusting.  Dave & Buster's promises something a little more.  The place is larger, the games are louder and the food is edible.  Maybe even the parents can enjoy themselves here too.

12pm.  Providence, RI.  Driving an hour out of the way to go to a restaurant seems a little absurd to me.  But everyone is excited and that's the point after all.  We park our car and make our slow trek up the escalators (remember, kids can be entertained for hours on escalators, especially if they go both up AND down).  Surprisingly, I can't hear the restaurant from 500 feet away like I thought I would.  Then we walk inside.  Oh the games are in the back.  All of the adults are in the front of the restaurnat watching the games at the bar.

GROG.  A lot of choices for beer.  Guinness, Stella and Bass are mixed in with the typical domestic light beers.  Numerous fancy drinks ar on the menu too.  The place gets points simply for having Grog in the first place, like they knew that parents would need to have a drink to survive the Ticket Redemption Room at the end.  8.0 Happies out of 10.0.

KIDS CRAYONS AND OTHER ENTERTAINMENT.  A perfect score!  You have pool, basketball hoops, Rock Band, Dance Dance Revolution, Skeeball and other games of chance all in one place - next to our table.  The first time the helicopter game next to us went off, it literally shook the ground to the point where my daughter grabbed the table and asked "What the?"  The real treat, though (for the kids, not really for the parents) is the ticket redemption room where you can redeem your 400,000 tickets for prizes.  Kids go crazy for this room at any amusement park, but this one seems different.  Numerous video games for the Wii, Play Station and the XBox adorn the walls.  My kids end up getting Pokemon cards and 10 bouncy D&B basketballs.  That's alright, this stuff will all end up in the trash a couple of weeks from now. 

Really, can a place ge more entertaining than this?  I think I even played a couple of games myself sneaking them in while pretending to go to the bathroom.  I know my wife was playing some games too, even hough she would never admit it.  11.0 Happies out of 10.0.  Yes, 11.0.

SPEED.  One of the wheels just fell off.  We sat near the bar in the game room.  Numerous waitstaff walked by us, admittedly with those "Better you than me" looks as I'm wrestling the jacket off my 3 year old daughter who's running toward one of the bouncy balls that she won on the way in from the claw game.  It took 20 minutes to flag someone down to take our drink order; that is just not right.  We just want a couple of beers, 3 Grilled Cheeses and some Edamame. I'll even pay you extra if you don't forget about us again.  One of the good things about the lack of attention is that we didn't feel rushed to leave our table, which was a good thing since my daughter fell asleep on the heap of jackets under our table.  4.5 Happies out of 10.0.

DESSERT.  Who cares?  The kids are all in the Ticket Redemption Room at this point anyway.  I think there was some ice cream or brownies or something.  7.0 Happies out of 10.0.

WHO'S PAYING.  Over a hundred dollars getting 3 power cards.  (Did you know that they make you pay $3 to obtain a power card?  Keep them if you go more than once.)  Over a hundred dollars on food and drinks.  Holy crap!  And all we come back with are 4 stuffed animals, 5 bouncy balls and tired kids?  I'll take it!  But that is a lot of money.  Add in the fact that Providence is an hour away and this is a once a year journey. 5.0 Happies out of 10.0 Happies.

Overall, this is more of a kids' paradise than a parent's worst nightmare.  Kids are growing up fast these days and to be able to make them smile and getting them excited about anything is a big deal, and I think this experience is worth it.  I wish the rating was higher because we all ended up having a good time, but in the end, 35.5 Happies out of 50.0 Happies.  Not perfect but better than bad.


  1. And don't forget to look at my Chuck E. Cheese Review and overall comparison at

  2. trashy restaurant for trashy people