This past weekend, Islanders got their first look at LoFT, the new adult game room that previously housed the Dreamland ballroom. Locals have already flocked to the bar to enjoy the new digs and try their luck at some of the games now available in the space.
The building that houses what is now LoFT, the second-floor multipurpose room above the Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Co., is now in its 115th year, and its new incarnation as an adult game room plays homage to its past, which includes use by Ryan Family Amusements, as the Dreamland Game Room. This time around, the games are intended for the big kids.
The renovated space, freshly painted and adorned with rustic lighting and hardware, is now decorated with new amusements for the kid in all of us.
“It’s not totally different from Dreamland,” said co-owner J.B. Blau. “It’ll be more local, more low-key, local acoustics, local DJs, private parties, after-wedding celebrations, but more of a community center. We want to celebrate and capitalize on what it was. Want it to be a local place, and like all of our businesses [Sharky’s, Copper Wok, Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Co.], we’re trying to make it work in the winter. This building was just sitting here with all this potential. It sat empty 75 to 80 percent of the time… It has the potential to be such an asset [to the community],” said Mr. Blau.
The gaming idea was Inspired by the recent addition of a pool table to Sharky’s Edgartown location. Mr. Blau said, “I watched the reaction it brought, and it only allowed for two people to play. The LoFT is that on a much larger scale.” And that it is.
LoFT boasts two premium eight-foot pool tables that are available to rent by the hour, in addition to four seven-foot pool tables that are coin-operated. There are four shuffleboard tables available for free play, including two traditional tables and two bounce-back tables, complete with cupholders for your adult beverage of choice while you play. Also in the mix (and free!) are three dartboards, set against a custom wood wall that the LoFT team built themselves with aged wood, and gave an even more vintage feel with the help of watered-down paint, Mocha Mott’s espresso, and ash from the Ocean View restaurant fireplace. One foosball table is available, and a couple of Ping-Pong tables and an air-hockey table are on their way. They’ll adorn the front room that faces Circuit Avenue, which will also be available to rent for private functions. For video games there’s the beloved Big Buck Hunter, Target Toss Pro (based on the popular beanbag toss) and classics like Frogger, Pacman, Donkey Kong, and Galaga available for play too. And there’s a new digital Touch Tunes jukebox that allows guests to play song requests from anywhere in the bar via an app on their phone.
Board games, including Othello, Monopoly, and Jenga (and soon the delightfully wicked Cards Against Humanity), can be played in the lounge area for a more relaxed gaming experience. There’s also a 16-foot projector television that faces the lounge, making it an ideal space for watching big games and playoffs, like the upcoming NCAA March Madness tournament.
The bar offers something for everyone too. A full liquor bar is available, including a cocktail menu that also plays homage to the building’s past, with names inspired by performers who once graced the Dreamland stage. “Tunnel Vision,” which honors DJ Questlove’s band the Roots, was the most popular this weekend, and includes Texas grapefruit vodka, triple sec, and cranberry-lime juice. Another mix, the “Harbor Rat,” is named after a popular tune from local band DCLA. There’s a shot menu too, including picklebacks (a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice), and a house special 8-ball shot, which changes daily and is available for $3. For the beer lovers, there are seven beers on tap, available in pints, mugs, and pitchers. Try the LoFT lager, which is a steal at $9 a pitcher, or one of their craft beers — Porkslap IPA, Brew or Die IPA, Sneak Attack Saison, and Steel Rail, to name a few.
If you get hungry, the Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Co.’s bar menu is available each night, and a pub-inspired LoFT menu and late-night menu will be coming soon too. Eventually they’ll also offer lunch, 7 days a week.
For live entertainment, the space intends to host local bands and DJs, and according to Mr. Blau, there will “never be a cover.” The lounge area can be cleared out for a dance floor, and with the same sound system and lighting from Dreamland, people can enjoy live entertainment while their friends can still play pool in the back if they wish. “We want to provide something for everyone, and allow for people to have different experiences under the same roof,” said Mr. Blau; “it’s truly a multipurpose room.”
“We want to keep the energy in Oak Bluffs. The bowling alley will be a great addition, they will compliment each other. The bowling alley will be family-friendly, and LoFT is adults only,” said Mr. Blau. He envisions parents being able to drop their children off up the street at the bowling alley or the game room and head to LoFT for some fun of their own.
“I’m sick of hearing that there’s nothing to do here on the weekend. We’re going to keep doing things until people tell us to stop. We’ll keep adding, and keep being creative.”
LoFT is located on Oak Bluffs Avenue above the Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Co., and is currently open 5 pm to late, Monday through Friday, and 2 pm to late on Saturday and Sunday. There will be an official grand opening party on St. Patrick’s’ Day, Tuesday, March 17. Those interested in reserving the VIP room should call the Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Co. at 508-696-3000. Sharky’s, M.V. Chowder Co. and Copper Wok gift cards and loyalty cards are accepted at LoFT.