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Restaurants Dave & Buster's - Philadelphia, PA

Dave & Buster's benefits from
unique feel of prismatic glass lighting

Guests discover 70,000 square feet of Las Vegas-style food and fun under one roof when they enter Dave & Buster's on the banks of the Delaware River in Philadelphia. The most recent of five locations (with two in Dallas, one in Houston, and one in Atlanta), the establishment offers everything from world class pocket billiards and simulated 19th hole golf to shuffleboard, "play-for-fun" casino games, a video arcade, and casual and grand dining.

"It's what we call a casual, yet well-finished, wholesome adult entertainment center," explained Melvin R. Fain, president of Melvin R. Fain Architects, based in Plano, Texas, who designed the first Dave & Buster's location in 1982.

While all locations have a similar layout, there are differences in the external structures and their surroundings. The free-standing Philadelphia facility, for example, is located on Pier 19 North along the river and once served as a shipping warehouse.

What all of the locations have in common, according to Fain, is the lighting, which is as unique as the establishments themselves.

"We want people to feel excited, yet comfortable when they enter a Dave & Buster's," Fain said. "One of the goals of the lighting is to move guests from one area to another."

Prismatic glass fixtures installed throughout the facilities are from Holophane Lighting, Inc. Some of the luminaires used are standard line products, while others are older fixtures customized for the chain. Above the billiard tables, for example, Holophane PGRL prismatic glass reflector luminaires with incandescent lamps are installed.

Around the bar, prismatic glass globe fixtures with customized brackets are used. Both fixtures were manufactured by Holophane in the 1930s for industrial plant lighting, but lend themselves to a commercial application where an "old" feel is desired.

Above the billiard tables, 12 prismatic glass reflector luminaires are mounted in a 12,000-square-foot area, providing about 20 percent uplight. The fixtures are mounted six feet above the floor, spaced three feet. Fain said incandescent lamps were used because he felt the metal halide would be too bright. Illumination on the tables is 8 footcandles.

"We have a lot of dark wood in the billiard area," he described. "The tables, selected from a 1920 catalog, are solid mahogany, with rosewood rails. We also have stained glass fixtures, so we wanted the lighting to complement the dark wood and the Victorian feel.

"The Holophane fixtures have a lot of sparkle and do a good job of illuminating the area because they provide light out the sides," Fain added.

In Dave & Buster's Million Dollar Midway, which houses the video arcade, 18 Holophane PrismGlo Arcadia Mentor luminaires, with 40 percent uplight, add to the sense of fun and excitement created by a combination of red laminated surfaces, black and white floor tile, and 800 linear feet of neon lighting. The Holophane units, with glass bottoms, hang below the neon lighting.

"Although the colors of the neon illumination are a focal point, the Mentor fixtures are just as important because they give a different look to the area. They really draw people in," Fain described.

While Holophane's Granville luminaires are typically for outdoor applications, eight of the units with incandescent lamps are used to give a yesteryear look to the interior landscaping around the Grand Bar & Dining room. The prismatic glass acorn luminaires feature authentic historical styling and add to the room's casual elegance.

"The Granville units are beautiful. We could find othing comparable in quality," said Fain. He added that Granville luminaires also encircle the perimeter of the 3,000-square-foot patio at the Philadelphia location. Twelve units are installed along the pier, serving as the primary source of illumination.

Dave & Buster's Showroom, used for large parties and meetings, utilizes Holophane PrismGlo® Arcadia Electra® luminaires hung on dimmers to accommodate the various functions held in the 4,000-square-foot room. The units can be turned up for note-taking during a presentation, or turned down during Dave & Buster's Murder Mystery Dinner Theater. A total of 12 units, with 150 watt lamps are installed in the room, which seats 200 and includes a 9' x 12' big screen, a stage, and its own bar.

The exterior of each Dave & Buster's location is just as inviting as the inside, with Wallpack¬ fixtures, with borosilicate glass refractors, providing perimeter and security lighting. Holophane's Computer Aided Lighting Analysis (CALA) software was used to determine how much light would wash down the side of the building, and how much would spill into the parking lot and onto the sidewalk.

"We wanted sufficient illumination to light the lattice work on the sides of the building and to convey to patrons that we are open and ready for business. Yet we did not want to blind customers as they arrived," Fain said.

The Wallpack fixtures are installed at 20 feet, spaced 60 feet. Footcandle levels on the sidewalks are 4 footcandles. Fain said Dave & Buster's has received many comments about the lighting, with calls inquiring where the fixtures can be purchased.

"The Holophane fixtures are high quality," he said. "They create interest for the various areas throughout Dave & Buster's, while providing a serviceable glow."


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