Monday, July 16, 2012 | 2 a.m.
Opening a bar isn’t necessarily rocket science. But a former NASA software engineer plans to launch a pair of corner bars soon in Henderson.
On one side of the building, HiScores will offer old-school arcade games and high-speed Internet access, while on the other side, the Players Club will provide a more laid-back lounge atmosphere. Both will offer traditional bar-top gaming.
Formerly the Caribbean Cooker and Ernie’s High Adventure Pub and Deli, the property at the corner of Stephanie Street and Paseo Verde Parkway is under renovation by new owner Richard Ditton. The bars are expected to open in mid-August.
Besides his work with NASA, Ditton is the founder of Incredible Technologies, the largest manufacturer of amusement games in the United States.
“You talk about people being rocket scientists, he really was ... He started out at NASA and had a real love of video games,” said Leif Marwede, general manager of the two new bars.
Ditton’s Illinois-based gaming firm has sold some 100,000 coin-operated video games, such as Silver Strike Bowling and Golden Tee Golf, found in bars throughout the country.
Marwede, who has known Ditton since the late 1980s, also has a tech background. He is a computer programmer and has designed home console and arcade games, Disney interactive storybooks and casino games.
HiScores will be a high-energy, fun and cost-effective place for those 18 and older to hang out, Marwede said.
“We’re doing everything we can to make this tech-friendly or tech-chic,” he said. “We’ve got 25-megabit wireless Internet here, which is the highest you can get. We have power in every booth, so hopefully people will be bringing in laptops, hang out for the day, study and eat.”
The price point for the food — which will include items such as grilled chicken and vegetable skewers — will be about $10, with many menu items around $6 to $7, he said.
“A lot of it is food on a stick — one-handed food so you can drink, eat and play,” he said. “When I was in other cities, there were places like this where you could go and have a really good Internet connection and munch on cheap food all day.”
In contrast to HiScores, the Players Club will be more of a place to relax, Marwede said.
“We’ve got acoustical wallpaper to keep the sound down,” he said. “We do have some games over here, but they’re all physical games. They’re pinball, foosball and Chexx Hockey.”
Fred De Latorre, bar manager for both establishments, said customers will be treated “the old fashioned way, what Vegas was built upon — the smile. We want to reward you because you’re here on a daily basis.”
“You’ll be able to sit here and have a good glass of wine and listen to some relaxing, calm music,” De Latorre said.