First Look

Kung Fu Saloon Brings Sake, Beer, Nunchunks and a Retro Arcade to Uptown

Kung Fu Saloon is a new arcade and bar situated at the corner of Routh Street and Cedar Springs Road, in what used to be the Place at Perry's (2901 Routh St). This Austin-import opened Labor Day weekend and is already getting quite acclimated in its new digs. On Saturday there was a mix of gamers, local 20-somethings and KU fans in bright blue shirts watching college football. (Rice? Really? Raise your hand if you even knew Rice had a football team. It's OK though, Jayhawks. Basketball will start soon enough.)

Kung Fu has 24 beers on draft (some craft and local, others run-of-the-mill), 11 TVs, 20 old school arcade games, Jenga, shuffleboard, Foosball and five skee ball lanes, the latter of which are always free. The building layout is like a fat wedge of pie and the bar floats right in the middle, with a long outdoor patio along Cedar Springs. There's lots of meandering space -- not a lot of tables -- possibly extra space for kung fu fighting and nunchucks.

Party tip: On Sundays, Kung Fu has free play on all the arcade games and some really good drink specials, like $1 mimosas, which they call "ninja pricing."

There are two private karaoke rooms in the back that can be rented for $25 an hour and look soundproof.

The menu has typical bar food, some of it with an Asian twist, like cheeseburger egg rolls, wonton mozzarella sticks and 12 different Kung Fu sandwiches, which are just normal sandwiches. There are also burgers.

The drink menu from their website, which I couldn't find there on Saturday, includes a lot of sake-inspired drinks. The "Kahbboi'I" (Cowboy) is pearl sake dropped in Ace Pear beer. The "Big Ben" is G Joy sake in Dos XXs. The "Longhorne" is pearl sake dropped in Lone Star with a splash of OJ. "Finish Him" is sake dropped in a Guinness topped with Irish Cream. Some research is in order.

After reading a few reviews, it appears Kung Fu Saloon morphs into more of a dance club at night, with lines wrapping around the building in the 12 o'clock hour. In their Austin location they bring in DJ's at night -- probably will here soon too if not already.

I think they're still pulling things together here. The karaoke rooms where dark when I was there, despite a bar full of college kids, like maybe they aren't working yet. I didn't see any food or drink menus, they don't answer their phones and, most noticeably, they don't have a Gallaga game yet, a staple for a retro arcrade.

Watch their Facebook page; it wouldn't surprised me if they have a "grand opening" soon or important event updates. But, all in all, I could already waste a roll of quarters and a Saturday afternoon watching any variety of sports on the tube -- and hopefully cleaning-house in the Gallaga challenger phase. (The key is to never move the joy stick and you have to have double fighters. But, that's common knowledge, right?)

The roads around Kung Fu are awkward. Five different streets come together and there's construction in the middle of one. Sixth Street is another new bar just across the street and everyone plays Frogger trying to get back and forth between these spots. Not an ideal set up. We need some signs and stuff. Maybe a crossing guard with a whistle.

Kung Fu Saloon gets their ninja on at 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday and they don't shut'er down until 2 a.m.

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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.

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