Friday, September 17, 2021

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Belly Up To...

The Operating Room


It’s just what the doctor ordered.

Minors accompanied by adults
are welcome at the Operating
Room until 7:30 p.m.

In a typical hospital operating room, doctors commonly ask for scalpels, gauze or a hemostat. In the Operating Room at West Glen Town Center, frequent requests for Jell-O shots, pizza and slushies are heard among the dinging, clanging and bleeping sounds of pinball and arcade games.

The Operating Room opened its West Des Moines location two years ago, and a second location opened in Ankeny on June 1. The arcade bar is the brainchild of local orthopedic hand surgeon, Dr. Gregory Yanish.

Yanish opened the arcade after a glut of pinball machines overtook his home, Lora Hall, director of operations, explains.

“He basically had a pinball addiction since he was in medical school. His basement, garage and home were full of pinball machines, and he ran out of room,” Hall says. “He came up with an idea to make a pinball bar out of his collection.”

Prep Iowa

The arcade is all-ages, and minors accompanied by adults are welcome until 7:30 p.m. After that, it’s bedtime for the kids, so the 21 and older crowd can play.

Inside the brightly lit bar are dozens of pinball and arcade games, including Skee-ball, Space Invaders, Connect 4 Hoops and more. To play the games, quarters and tokens aren’t needed. Just load a reusable game card with any amount. Winners can use the card to choose prizes from a prize vending machine, with anything from Whoopee cushions to PlayStations.

The drink options make it adult friendly. With eight different flavored slushies, patrons can choose from Over the Rainbow or Sour Patch Kid, each made with fresh ingredients and topped with a candy treat or whip cream. A flight of four flavors cost $15, or choose from two other sizes starting at $8.

Their signature doctor-ordered shots come in large syringes. For those with a less-sweet palate, a full bar with local craft beers awaits gamers. A food menu with pizza, burgers and appetizers is also available.

The medical-themed décor includes bartenders wearing scrubs. A red heartbeat monitor runs along the side of the wall. Overhead operating room lights shine above the bar. The bathrooms provide anatomy photos. A custom-made décor sketched on the walls is unique. Local medical students and doctors hand painted different medical-related equations, symptoms, diagnoses and terminology on the black walls.

Hall thinks the arcade bar concept is ideal and likens it to a neighborhood local bar. They have patrons who come in on a regular basis who don’t play games, while others only play games and don’t drink.

“We’ve found that our target market is looking for activities to do. Gone are the days where people just stand around bars and drink,” says Hall. “Games are a lively way to connect people.” ♦

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