Uproar makes downtown San Jose comeback, offering food, brews, games

Uproar is making a comeback in downtown San Jose under a new ownership group through a deal that points to increasingly brighter and more lively prospects for the city’s SoFA district.

Arcade games, beer, and dining will all be on tap at the new Uproar, according to one of the partners in the ownership entity.

The ownership entity, which includes the Uproar founder, is taking over the same space where Uproar had operated for several years until coronavirus-linked woes forced it to shut down during 2020.

David Ramsay, who has a background in gaming and restaurant establishments, is teaming up with Steve Vandewater, who launched the original Uproar.

“This is exciting,” Ramsay said. “This is going to be a brewery, restaurant, and arcade.”

Dining and beer were staples of the original Uproar. Arcade games are a new component, according to Ramsay.

The new Uproar is across the street from a new gamer-centric lounge and entertainment center called Guildhouse.

Ramsay believes Uproar and Guildhouse will complement each other, even if they are across the street.

That’s because Guildhouse appeals to gamers who tend to play in groups while the arcade games at Uproar would more likely cater to people who play solitary arcade games.

Similarly, in downtown Campbell, in the same building, Ramsay operates arcade-centric LVL Up on the first floor while Wick runs gamer-oriented AFKxp Tech & Game Center upstairs.

In downtown San Jose’s South First Area, or SoFA district, Uproar occupies about 10,000 square feet while Guildhouse is in 18,000 square feet.

Uproar is expected to open sometime in July, according to Ramsay.

“There is some renovation work and other site work,” Ramsay said. “For the most part, things are moving appropriately well.”

The Uproar lease and other rental agreements in the city’s urban core offer hopeful portents for the future, opined Richard Berg, a real estate investor who owns a number of properties in downtown San Jose.

“I’m very optimistic about downtown San Jose with all of the new activity,” Berg said. “There are so many new things going on.”

Among other the recent signs of heightened activity downtown besides Uproar and Guildhouse:

— Doordash has leased 7,000 square feet across the street at 431 S. First St. for a DashMart, which is a new type of convenience store that offers both household essentials and local restaurant favorites for delivery.

— CloudKitchens, a venture led by Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick, is planning a “Downtown Food Hall” that would accommodate 25 small commercial kitchens in a historic building at 82 through 96 East Santa Clara St.

— Good Spot, a gastro lounge, opened earlier this year at 386 S. 1st St.

These deals are deemed to be strong indicators of an upswing in downtown activity, Berg said. The downtown, however, needs conventions to resume in a big way to provide the next major boost for downtown San Jose.

“It’s exciting to see things starting to improve,” Berg said. “There’s no question we are really starting to turn the corner.”

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