It is the mission of Up-Down to create a safe, fun, and nostalgic entertainment experience that presents an alternative to the traditional bar scene and provides value to our guests, staff, partners, community, and industry.
Joey Akers – General Manager
Joey is General Manager of Up-Down Kansas City. He began working in the restaurant business with his childhood friend, Josh Ivey, at one of Rafe Mateer’s restaurants while completing his degree in Economics from the University of Iowa. After college, Joey moved to Kansas City for a position with Advanced Technology Solutions. After gaining years of experience in the corporate world, Akers was poached by Ivey to manage the second Up-Down location in Kansas City. Joey, his wife Emily, and their one year old daughter have relocated to the Central West End to become the General Manager of Up-Down St. Louis.
Josh oversees operations of all three Up-Down locations and is the driving force on the upcoming St. Louis location. Josh graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Psychology, even making a few appearances on the Dean’s List. When not studying, he was working for Mateer, learning the ropes in the restaurant/bar industry. Josh was quickly promoted to General Manager, before becoming the Managing Partner of Wooly’s live entertainment venue, which he co-owns with Mateer and Summers. After owning Wooly’s for two years, Josh was ready for his next project. He spearheaded the creation and development of the first Up-Down location in Des Moines and has gone on to successfully open two additional locations (Kansas City, and Minneapolis). Josh is passionate about business development, hospitality, and community involvement.
Sam has an extensive background in concert promotions that began back in high school. While earning his degree in Economics and Marketing from Iowa State University, he started his first concert promotion company: First Fleet Concerts. He was responsible for promoting a variety of shows ranging from intimate venues to areas throughout the Midwest. Sam was the primary booker for their live entertainment venue, Wooly’s. Five years ago Sam started his second company, SA Presents, and has booked Des Moines premiere summer concert series ever since. In 2014, Sam founded Hinterland, an outdoor music festival that draws approximately 20,000 people over three days to St. Charles, Iowa. He was a member of the East Village Board from 2012-2015. Sam specializes in brand growth and strategies pertaining to Up-Down. He is about to embark on his biggest role yet. Sam and his wife, Brooke, are patiently awaiting the arrival of their first child this August.
Rafe manages the procurement and restoration of games for all Up-Down locations. He started in the restaurant industry while to pay his way through college at the University of Northern Iowa where he studied Business. Rafe served as the General Manager of three different restaurants to gain experience before purchasing his first restaurant. He has over two decades in the restaurant/bar business and has been mentoring Josh Ivey and Joey Akers for the past thirteen years. He currently owns Blue Moose Tap House, DC’s Sports Bar, and Fieldhouse in Iowa City, as well as being a partner with Ivey and Summers in Wooly’s and Up-Down’s three locations. When not restoring games for Up Down, you can find Rafe spending time at home with his two children or traveling.
Here’s what the Media has to say….
“Up-Down seems to capture something we’ve abandoned in our modern world of cell phones and usernames… At Up-Down, it was different. There were people, and they were pretty nice folks… Up-Down gives you more than just old-school video games. They give you the entire old-school experience, but it’s modernized properly and put together in a way that should have you finding or trying something new every time you come back”
Letters From Our Current Neighbors
Crossroads Art District
Median household income: $63,945
Median house or condo value: $202,906
Median contract rent: $1,446
The Crossroads Art District is a vibrant arts and dining district most notable for the monthly First Friday celebration. Within a block of Up-Down you will find the headquarters of Arts KC, the Crossroads gallery of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, and restaurants from James Beard Nominated Chefs (Michael Smith’s and The Rieger Hotel).
Median household income: $58,355
Median house or condo value: $246,210
Median contract rent: $787
The LynLake District is a cornerstone of the Minneapolis arts and LGBT communities. Considered one of the city’s great economic success stories of the last ten years, LynLake has become a thriving mixed use neighborhood anchored by a wide variety of ethnic restaurants and high-end condominium development.
The East Village
Median household income: $36,699
Median house or condo value: $35,000
Median contract rent: $712
Sitting in the shadow of the Iowa State Capital, The East Village has long been a center of commerce and culture in Des Moines. Up-Down is a prime destination for visitors after going to the Botanical Gardens or before attending a show at the Simon Estes Amphitheater in this historic district.
Improving Our Neighborhood -Kansas City
Our Kansas City location was previously occupied by a hamburger concept. They were terminating their lease due to a tumultuous relationship with the landlord and disputes over maintenance issues. The location had tremendous value in the heart of the Crossroads Arts District, but had fallen into disrepair. It was widely considered an eyesore by neighboring businesses and art galleries.
Improving Our Neighborhood – Minneapolis
Our Minneapolis location had sat vacant after most recently being home to a tattoo studio and shop offering psychic and tarot readings. The two spaces were seen as too small by most commercial tenants and were stalling the development of the block. The location had tremendous potential in the up and coming Lyn Lake neighborhood, but was widely considered to be one block off from the foot traffic that most businesses in the district would rely on.
(It’s not your typical bar or arcade crowd)
Up-Down differentiates itself from other bars by providing an entertainment experience that serves as an alternative to the typical bar scene. From the time a guest walks in the doors, they are greeted with images and sounds that inspire nostalgic euphoria. We create an environment that allows professionals to take a break from their cares and worries while being surrounded by the sites and sounds that remind them of their youth. As a result, our patrons tend to be older, more established, and drawn to our selection of craft beers. Our emphasis on the details that make our guests feel safe, draws us praise from our female guests who make up over half of our Facebook fans. Up-Down is a bar run by professionals and for professionals.
21 - 24
25 - 34
35 - 44