A row of classic machines, next to one of the two bowling alleys located at Level 257
The trip went well overall, and we as a family were impressed. The food was good, the adult beverages even better, and the ambiance was that of pure fun. As an adult I flash backed to my 6th birthday party at Showtime Pizza in Arlington Heights, IL and that feeling of “to hell with the food, lets just get to the games”, but of course you have to set a good example and prioritize your visit, that means lunch first kids. Of course being midday on a weekday during the summer, the restaurant and arcade was pretty much empty and the bowling alleys where going unused. This gave us free run of the place, and allowed us to explore.
My wife an I got the feeling that as adults, it would be a cool place to hang out with friends and have drinks while leaving the kids at home. Lots of cool lounge areas, plenty of social gaming opportunities including bowling and cocktail table arcade machines, and of course a great wine, beer, and mixed drink list. Of course it’s no surprise that although kid friendly, the restaurant has held some adult oriented parties for New Years Eve, and Mardi Gras.
Now, if you don’t know about Level 257 let me tell you about it. First of all Level 257 is a Pac-Man themed barcade located in Schaumburg’s famous Woodfield Mall. Whats even more interesting about the place is that it’s owned by Namco itself. According to some of the wait staff, at this point it’s the only Namco restaurant of its kind, and is 100% owned and operated by Namco, meaning this isn’t a licensing deal. Although Namco does operate similar restaurants around the world they go under the Funscape name, and not Level 257. As far as the name Level 257 that too is Pac-Man oriented. In Pac-man the highest level you can achieve is that of level 255, but beyond that there is a level 256 which is nearly unplayable due to bugs, although some have tried. The moniker Level 257, obviously derives from that being a level beyond 256.
The restaurant features a “Level 256” arcade cabinet, which allows players to immediately experience Pac-Mans level 256 but this time without the bugs.
My family and I returned to the restaurant for my eldest sons spring break, in between visiting Legoland, and going to the mall. Unlike the first time though the restaurant was very crowded and service a bit slow. On top of that some games like the Star Wars: Battle Pod arcade machine, were overrun with kids who weren’t exactly up on sharing and proper arcade etiquette. The visit was still pretty fun though, but I did miss our more quiet visit in July.
If you haven’t checked out Level 257, make sure you do if your in the Chicago area, but let me also give you some info you may want to know before you visit.
Overall, I think you will find it a pleasant experience, and you will be happy you visited.