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CHICAGO In late March, 400 nationally based Yelp managers converged in Chicago for the review site's annual summit. To entertain employees while they were in town—and showcase a local-to-Chicago venue—event planners decided to host a Thursday-night cocktail bash at Headquarters Beercade. With arcade games and a neon pink sign that reads “Don't grow up, it's a trap,” the venue has a playful, throwback vibe that inspired the event's execution.
“Once Headquarters was secured as our venue, we thought we would take advantage of the unique aesthetic that it has to offer and capitalize on its '80s, vintage vibe for a fun 'Throwback Thursday' event,” said the venue's event coordinator Connor Foy, who worked with Yelp project manager Lauren Conway. Planners had a relatively short two-month planning process and encountered a very '80s kind of hurdle in the midst of it:
“The biggest challenge was sourcing a giant Rubik's cube as a photo op focal point,” Foy said. “After searching all over the Midwest to find one, the designers at Kehoe Designs were able to create a custom 4- by 4-foot cube for us less than 24 hours before the event.” The design team also created a custom Slinky ceiling installation that hung above the dance floor.
Along with the oversize toys and games, planners arranged for snacks including deep-dish pizza bread and desserts from a vintage candy bar. There was also a virtual-reality experience created by the Chicago-based AZCS Technology. “[AZCS] put together a comprehensive game menu with 10 or so immersive virtual experiences that kept wowing our guests one after the other,“ Foy said. “The second someone would leave the virtual playground, you could see them walk over to their groups with the classic 'You guys have got to try this!' look in their eye."
Correction: The original version of this story listed the incorrect attribution for Connor Foy's quotes.