The first time you visit Dave & Buster’s, you’re likely going to be confused. Is it a restaurant? A gameroom? What’s happening? Not to worry; RH has come to your rescue with this straightforward description: D&B is just Chuck E. Cheese…with liquor.
I expected it to resemble Chuck E. Cheese: greasy, expensive pizzas with little else to offer (in all fairness, I haven’t visited this particular animatronic rat in close to 20 years, so they may have classed it up by now…though I doubt it). I was wrong. D&B has an extensive menu with options from hearty to (borderline) healthy and everything in between.
There’s your standard Cheddar Cheesy Fries and Mountain o’ Nachos, of course, but there’s also Edamame. There’s the Double Stacked Chicken Parm Sandwich and several variations of macaroni and cheese, but there’s also several fish options and sections labeled “Under 600 Calories” and “Big Salads.” Looking for something less bar and grill? Look no further than the Island Grilled Trifecta (skewers of steak, chicken and shrimp with pineapple pico de gallo, teriyaki BBQ and mango citrus sauces for dipping).
Hubby opted for the Fried Shrimp Platter ($13.79). Not much to expound on here: it was a plate of shrimp. With french fries.
I went for the Build Your Own Soft Tacos ($12.99) and chose shrimp (the other options were steak or chicken breast). I was really impressed with this dish: not only was everything tasty but it was really well, fun. It was essentially playing with my food and really, who doesn’t like that?
Food score: 8 out of 10. Lots of variety, reasonable prices, and tasty to boot.
I don’t have a lot of experience drinking alcoholic beverages (not a fan of the taste), but I’d say that their drink list is pretty extensive. It would have to be, right? Because later you’re going to play games like 9-year-olds. Who doesn’t need a bit of liquid courage for that?
Pardon the terrible photo. That’s Hubby’s TNTea, the D&B version of a Long Island Iced Tea. Despite the presence of 4 liquors (vodka, gin, rum and Grand Marnier), Hubby reported it was disappointingly weak. But Hubby drinks more than I do. I’m a lightweight. Surely he exaggerated.
How did my Banana Split (Créme de Banana with white crème de cacao, ice cream and Strawberry BACARDI) compare? All I can say is that the ice cream was good, because I couldn’t taste the liquor at all. At. All. And since I’m not a fan of alcohol, I can tell you with great sincerity that I can *always* taste it.
To add insult to injury, we were cajoled into buying the drinks by the server pointing out that it was Happy Hour: 1/2 price cocktails from 4:30p to 7p and again from 10p to close. It was bad enough that the drinks were watered down, but then she charged us full price for Hubby’s drink, saying it wasn’t on special. Fair enough, but that definitely should have come up earlier when we placed the order, making it clear that we were interested in the specials only.
Drink score: 3 out of 10. Lots of options, but we were both disappointed. Go for a beer and hope for the best.
Bummed after our drink experience (Hubby’s drink was eventually removed from the bill, I think, but only after we felt like criminals for calling it to the manager’s attention) and clearly not at all buzzed, we made our way with heavy hearts to the gaming section. Could we possibly have fun after this?
Should we take a chance with the Wheel of Fortune?
Would the price be right for us to enjoy ourselves?
Would it be a deal? Or no deal?
Well, there was skee ball. So yeah, we were fine!
I suppose you’d like more explanation for the game portion than just pictures of the cool games. Fair enough. Instead of running around with gobs of quarters making a racket in your pocket, you’re given a game card that’s pre-loaded with the amount you elect (a great way to keep kids and grown-ups alike accountable!).
They’re called Power Cards, and are used like debit cards: each game costs a certain number of points to play, and will deduct that amount from your card when swiped. The cost per point depends on how you purchase it. Definitely go online and sign up for their newsletter first, that will get you $10 of free gameplay. You can also choose to dine off the Eat & Play Combo menu to package your food and games into one, or you can just buy points outright (the more points you purchase, the cheaper each point becomes).
And what do you get for playing the games?
Tickets! Which can be turned in (they’re weighed, so no arduous counting necessary) for prizes. Prizes like…
…blurry neon frogs (not blurry in real life)…
…and creepy superheroes like Superman and Wolverine…
…and if you’re really, really good (or really obsessed, I suppose) even an XBox or Kinnect.
Generally speaking, the higher the per-game price, the more tickets you can likely win (not all games–particularly the arcade-style games–pay out with tickets, so be aware of that). Skee ball is cheap to play, and the ticket payout is analogous. The games I showed above cost more to play, but if you win, you win big.
We did not win that big. Our tickets purchased two Disney game sets (275 points each), a Spiderman keychain (175), some nerds (160) and a pack of SweeTarts (205).
You don’t have to use all your tickets at once, by the way. You can ask them to leave them on your Powercard and save them up for bigger ticket items.
Game score: 9 ut of 10. Once again, great variety. All the games were working when we were there, which is a big plus. And you can get junk to take home. Everybody wins!
The takeaway: D&B satisfies many demographics. It’s good for date night, for play dates with other kids, for a large group of competitive friends, etc. Not the cheapest way to go, but fun nonetheless.
Hours: 11a to 1a Sundays through Thursdays and 11a to 2a Fridays and Saturdays (I heartily recommend avoiding weekends, which are more kid- and tourist-friendly)
Location: 8986 International Drive Orlando, FL 32819
: Explore the menu by downloading the pdf here
Bonus: Games are 1/2 price on Wednesdays.
posted by Christine@RandomHangers.com
Tags: dave and busters, games, international drive, stuff to do in Orlando, things to do in orlando
Filed under: Hangin' Around...(things to do), Hangin' Out At...(places to eat)