CEDAR RAPIDS — When Nassor Cooper was working with the company that supplies music to the jukebox in his new bar, The Rewind, he had a request they told him they had never gotten before: he wanted only music from the 1980s.
The music isn’t the only homage to the ’80s. He bought arcade game consoles that can be loaded with any game he wants; his will only be ones from the era of Pac-Man, Mario Bros. and Tron.
“Maybe a little late ’70s, maybe a little early ’90s will sneak in, but this is a strictly ’80s bar,” Cooper said. “Eighties and nothing else.”
In August 2018, he was working at Cocktails & Company in Cedar Rapids when his boss, Ryan Evans, asked if he’d be interested in running an 1980s-themed bar he wanted to open. Evans’ plans, which at one point included a plan to open in downtown Cedar Rapids, ended up falling through, but he encouraged Cooper to run with the idea and helped him navigate the process. Cooper is majority owner of The Rewind.
When the southwest side location that previously housed Beaver Creek Saloon was available, Cooper found the location for his bar.
He is doing a soft opening all this week, with the official opening to the public scheduled for Monday.
The bar still is evolving into Cooper’s final vision; after his liquor license was approved more quickly than he anticipated, he decided to open rather than waiting until every element was in place. Soon, he plans to have LED screens running across the front of the bar. They can be programmed with images like Pac-Man, or music videos or movies.
“I think the juxtaposition of an ’80s retro bar with technology will be very cool,” he said.
Inspiration for the LED bar came from a photo he saw on Facebook of another bar with a similar front. “I saw that photo, and it was like in Star Wars, in the ‘Empire Strikes Back,’ when they find the rebels. It was that feeling. I was like, that’s it. That’s what I want,” he said.
For now, the drinks are the standard bar lineup of beers and mixed drinks. In the future, he hopes to add a menu of specialty cocktails based on 1980s favorites.
“We’ll adjust as we go, as the crowd asks for things,” he said.
Cooper, 39, was a child during the 1980s and remembers the era with fondness.
“It’s nostalgic for us, for my generation, all the way to my parent’s generation,” he said. “I’m trying to bring that nostalgic vibe back. It just brings back such good memories for a lot of people.”
If the idea works, he envisions other decade-themed bars in the future. Perhaps a ’90s Rewind or a ’70s Rewind.
“It sets a mood and vibe in general, with the good memories you have,” he said. “It has a focus.”
He plans to close the bar briefly each Friday and Saturday, from 8 to 9 p.m., then reopen it with the tables and stools moved out of the way to make a dance floor.
“I want to clear the room and create a completely new atmosphere,” he said.
The dance party soundtrack, of course, will be all ’80s. He also hopes to have food trucks park outside on weekends nights.
“I don’t think there’s anything around here that’s like this,” he said.
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If You Go
• What: The Rewind
• Where: 1010 Second Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids
• Hours: 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday to Thursday, 4 to 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday
• Details: (319) 200-1980