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Southern Pines Leveling Up With New Bar and Arcade

After an extended vacancy, the old Bo’s Food Store building (or A&P if you’re from ’round here) is destined for a new purpose. Cue Rec Room Bar + Arcade, a new dog-friendly and family-friendly bar/arcade/hangout spot that’ll feature dozens of retro arcade games and zero cartoon mice. Rec Room Bar + Arcade is slated to open in early 2022.

The brain child of sisters Elena Avila and Heather Dyer and Heather’s husband, Ezra, Rec Room will house classic games like skee ball, pop-a-shot, Pac-Man and more.

“You know the friend that you hung out with growing up who had the cool house with a foosball table in the rec room of their split-level? That’s what vibe we want this place to have,” Heather says.”

Left to right: Ezra and Heather Dyer, good boi Gary, and Elena Avila in the future private event space at Rec Room.

Other plans include a fully stocked booze bar with local brews, a snack bar with gourmet pizzas and salads, a giant outdoor patio space they plan on calling “the backyard,” and a private event space.

“Whether you want to come out here and feel the fun vibes or play games, we want this to be a place for everybody — and their dogs,” Elena says.

Rec Room will be open to everyone during the day, but Elena says they plan to switch it to 21 and up after 8 p.m. The trio also envisions hosting throwback theme nights for adults, adding on an extra layer of nostalgia.

Bringing Rec Room Bar + Arcade to Life

Elena, Heather and Ezra began kicking around the idea for Rec Room about two years ago after spending time in barcades in bigger North Carolina cities. They bought their first game — a Pac Man table — and made their first offer on the Bo’s building pre-pandemic.

“Thankfully, that offer wasn’t accepted,” Elena says. “We waited another year, planned a bit more and now, we’re so excited to bring something that’s fun for both parents and kids to the area.”

Plans for both the inside and outside of Rec Room are conceptual for now. They’re kicking off the space’s remodel in the coming weeks, but according to Elena, they plan on preserving the OG centennial-style A&P look with help from Pinnacle Design.

Building the Hype

Running a bar and arcade is a new venture for Heather, Elena and Ezra. Heather and Elena both hold jobs in the medical field. Ezra works as a journalist for Car and Driver Magazine. In addition to Pinnacle, the trio has enlisted the help of food and bev experts, First Bank and the community. Since making their social media debut last month, the trio has used Insta to poll followers on games they’d like to see at Rec Room.

“Of course we’re going to have our personal favorites, but at the end of the day, Rec Room is for the community,” Ezra says. “We want to know what all of you are looking for in a bar and arcade.”

Want to contribute your two cents on what you want to see at Rec Room Bar + Arcade? Follow them on Instagram and be on the lookout for more polls as plans continue to develop.

“There are obviously things that need to be overcome because this is an old building and things do need to be brought up to code, but we’re excited,” Heather says. “We hope others are excited as well.”

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