February 23, 2024
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Ventura Harbor inks lease with restaurant operator for current arcade spot


After several decades, it’s time to say goodbye to the seaside arcade and carousel at Ventura Harbor Village.

The Village Carousel & Arcade, which has been open at Ventura Harbor since the 1980s, is set to be replaced with a new entertainment venue and restaurant offering giant pretzels, international beers and virtual reality games.

Aarmark Beer Gardens will manage the nearly 5,800-square-foot space. The company operates restaurants in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, including SB Biergarten in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, Fire & Vice in Moorpark and Santa Maria, and Copenhagen Sausage Garden in Solvang.

The Ventura Port Commission, a city-appointed board that governs the harbor, approved a multi-year lease with Aarmark on Jan. 19.

Aarmark plans to open the new venue at Harbor Village in 2023. Its name has yet to announced.

In a statement posted to Facebook on Jan. 21, Ventura Village Carousel said it will be closing its doors for good on April 30.

“After many years of trying to secure a new lease in the harbor, searching outside the harbor for a new space and not being able to secure either, the Ventura Port District voted to have a new tenant move into our space,” the statement said.

Ventura Village Carousel said it’s “heartbreaking to have to close our business, but this has become our only option at this time.”

The site will undergo upgrades before the new tenant opens to the public next year. The Ventura Port District plans to invest $725,000 in facade and infrastructure improvements to the building before turning the space over to Aarmark Beer Gardens, according to a district news release. Aarmark will then spend another $651,500 on tenant enhancements. 

The new restaurant and entertainment venue will be “an experience like no other,” Aaron Running, CEO of Aarmark Beer Gardens, said in the news release. The menu will include wood-fired pizzas, sausages, grass-fed burgers, salads, pretzels, plus “some fun theme-focused menu items.” Entertainment options will include “multi-sport simulators, virtual reality, retro arcade games, a stadium seating sports viewing, and more,” Running said.