Event FAQs

I want to have a party or other event at Free Play; where do I get more information?

1) The following FAQs.
2) Your chosen venue’s event information brochures.
3) Once you’re ready to book an event or have additional questions, please email our event coordinator Gayle at gayle@freeplayinc.com. When emailing, please specify which location you are interested in.

How do I discuss an event in person or by telephone?

While we do occasionally handle matters by phone or in person, it is our strong preference to handle event planning by email. This preserves the exact details that have been discussed and agreed upon for both our reference and yours. No matter what, it’s best to start planning your party by emailing gayle@freeplayinc.com. When planning exceedingly large or private events, things like site visits, planning meetings, and similar are common.

I sent an email to Gayle and she hasn’t responded. What do I do?

Gayle responds to emails Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. through 3 p.m. Though we aim for a prompt response, it may take a business day for Gayle to respond to your inquiry. If it has been more than a business day, check your spam folder and ensure that Gayle’s response did not inadvertently get miscategorized. If it has been a business day and the message is not in your spam folder, we apologize, please send a follow up email.

I don’t like this process and am mad that Gayle didn’t respond within 26 milliseconds!

Our event planner Gayle is a fabulous person! But like the rest of us she has a family and work-life balance. While Gayle is sometimes onsite during the evenings and weekends for more complex events, she usually operates during normal weekday business hours. In addition to her other work, she receives and responds to hundreds of emails every week. Gayle works hard to respond to all inquiries promptly, but frequently not within the hour. If you have an event that requires her involvement, it is best to inquire well in advance. If it is already the weekend, you are welcome to email, but Gayle will likely not see that email until Monday. Please see impromptu parties below as an alternative option.

I am arranging a company party; do you have any team-building options available?

Yes! Please ask for our Team Building Brochure.

Do you have private party/event rooms?

Apologies, but no. We do offer private, full-venue rentals, as well as non-private event options (and, only at our Arlington location, semi-private patio rentals), expounded upon below.

NON-PRIVATE PARTIES/EVENTS

Can I have an impromptu party at one of your locations during normal business hours with no advance notice?

Yes! Free Play is the perfect place to celebrate almost anything and we’ve been a part of hundreds of birthday parties, happy hours, and any other types of celebrations that were not booked ahead of time. That said, if you expect something beyond our standard offerings (for example, a reserved table, decorations, pre-ordered food, etc.), it must be booked and confirmed with our staff ahead of time. On weekends in particular we can become busy to the point that tables or similar are not always available. Also, for instance, if you have 100 people show up and all order food at the same time without any advanced notice, the kitchen is going to take a long time to get your food out. If, knowing all that, you think an impromptu party will work for you, we will do what we can to help!

What should I do if I want to arrange a non-private/event party that is not impromptu?

Please review these FAQs and applicable event brochures. Then email Gayle with any questions you have and information about the event you want to book. When emailing, please specify which location you are interested in.

When is the latest I can change/finalize all the details for my non-impromptu event?

All details for a non-private party/event must be finalized and confirmed with our staff 48 hours prior to your event. Further, we cannot make any changes/additions after 3 p.m. on Friday for upcoming weekend events. In the event you are late providing your guest list, please bring it with you to your party/event.

How does admission to the arcade work for non-private parties/events?

Aside from children 2 years of age and under, an admission is required for all entrants to the arcade. As of June 2019, admission to our Richardson and Arlington locations is $11 including tax, and admission to our Denton location is $6 including tax. You are welcome to pay that admission for your guests, or they can self-pay. If your guests will be paying for themselves, please don’t forget to let them know about the admission fee in advance!

Seriously, you are going to charge me for my 3 year-old?

Apologies for any inconvenience, but yes. A 3 year-old takes up one game at a time, just the same as an adult. Moreover, some of us have young children ourselves, and we can tell you from our own experience that a 3 year-old is more than capable of getting one’s money’s worth out of these incredible games! We have stools available in the event your little one needs a boost – just ask our staff.

What if I have a guest who doesn’t want to play any games?

We are not in the business of forcing people to play games, but other than children 2 years of age and under, an admission is required for ALL entrants to the arcade. We just do not have any way to monitor whether or not a guest plays our games. And we really don’t want to hire people who walk around and harass our guests. Moreover, our games are super crazy fun for anyone willing to give them a fair shot, and we want everyone who walks in our door to do just that. Our games are all set to free play, there are not stakes, and there is no demographic that hasn’t had a blast at Free Play. That said, we are not monsters and are willing to consider an exception for truly unusual and extenuating circumstances (just know that simply not having an interest in playing our games, while unusual, is not something we consider extenuating).

I am having a party and some guests will be children/under 21 years of age; is there anything I need to be aware of?

Yes! We LOVE seeing new generations fall in love with our games, but there are a few rules to be aware of: 1) all of our locations go 18 years of age and up at 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 2) all of our locations go to 21 years of age and up Friday and Saturday; and 3) regardless of the hour, all children under 13 must be directly supervised by an adult at all times.

Please, please, please can you make an exception and let my child stay in the arcade after 9 p.m? / Can my 20 year-old significant other stay after 9 p.m. on a Friday or Saturday to celebrate a special occasion with me?

Apologies, but no. Both our insurance and TABC licenses require that we abide strictly by our age policies (and in Richardson, the requirement is actually a city ordinance). Failure to abide by those policies could result in losing our insurance, our TABC licenses, or even our total ability to operate. Please understand those are not risks we are willing to take.

Can I reserve a table or a patio for my party/event?

@ Richardson: Yes to tables! You may reserve one double table in our dining area. We charge a hold fee of $20 per double table (6-7 seats). We highly recommend reserving a table for any weekend event as our dining area is often full during the weekend. Table reservations are first come, first serve. All table reservations must be made 48 hours in advance.

@ Arlington: Yes to both! You may reserve one double table in our dining area. We charge a hold fee of $20 per double table (seats 8). We highly recommend reserving tables for any weekend event as our dining area is often full during the weekend. We also have two patios that seat ~40 that are semi-private and can be reserved for $100 for a three-hour event. Patios and table reservations are first come, first serve. All table reservations must be made 48 hours in advance.

@ Denton: Alas, we have neither tables nor a patio, so none are available to rent.

Can I reserve more than 1 double table for my non-private party/event?

Apologies, but no. Unless you have a private rental, we need places for our other guests to sit too! The good news is that guests rarely want to spend much time at a table when they can be off playing games instead!

What if I reserve a table, but when I arrive there are plenty of empty tables – do I still have to pay the reservation fee?

Yes. We have no way of knowing in advance whether there will be empty unreserved tables or not (although we can tell you that our tables often fill up, particularly on the weekends). When you make a table reservation, we generate and distribute table tents to assist in reserving your table and guarantee that you will have the agreed upon table(s) for your party. When you reserve a table you are taking the chance that the arcade will be slow and the reservation turns out to be unnecessary. When you choose not to reserve a table you are taking the chance that the arcade is so busy your party doesn’t have a table. Keeping those risks in mind, you know your party best and should make your table reservation decision accordingly.

Can I buy drink tickets for a non-private party/event?

Yes! Drink tickets are $6 per drink ticket and include all available beverages priced $7 or less. You must purchase a minimum of 10 drink tickets for your party. Please note that drink tickets are non-refundable.

Can my drink ticket be used for sodas?

Yes! However, please be aware that we do not have a soda fountain, and therefore we do not offer bottomless sodas. Drink tickets can be used to purchase a single bottled soda (we have some really neat craft sodas in addition to the standard stuff).

Do I have to buy drink tickets for a non-private party/event?

Absolutely not! Drink tickets are only offered for your convenience.

Can I buy beverages for my non-private party/event if I don’t order drink tickets?

Yes! All available beverage options are available for your purchase at their regular menu prices. And complimentary self-serve ice water is always available. If you’d like, you can open up a tab for your party and give them a password or similar.

What food is available for my non-private party/event?

Please see the venue’s event brochure for party options. In addition, our regular menu is available for pre-order or purchase during regular open hours. Please note that our Denton location serves beverages only.

Can I pre-order food for my non-private party/event?

Yes! If you’d like to provide food for your guests, pre-ordering food is the best way to ensure that your food arrives when your party needs it. Pre-ordered food must be ordered and confirmed 48 hours prior to service and paid for immediately upon your arrival on the day of the party/event. When arranging pre-ordered food please provide a “ready by” time and arrive at least 30 minutes prior to that time in order to finalize payment.

What if we just want to order food once we show up for the party/event?

That’s perfectly fine, provided you want to order off of our regular menu (party platters must be ordered 48 hours in advance). Just know that it may take some time to prepare a large food order without advanced notice.

Do I have to order food for my non-private party/event?

Absolutely not (although it is delicious)!

Can I bring my own music, DJ, or band for a non-private party/event?

Probably not, but if you have an exceptionally awesome proposal you are welcome to ask. Be aware that before you ask us for permission, you need clearance from all licensing agencies implicated by your music selections. As a consolation, our standard programming consists of a curated selection primarily containing 80s top 40 and new wave, and its pretty awesome.

Can I bring in a cake or other outside food/drink for my non-private party/event?

Celebratory desserts, such as cake, are absolutely permitted. We have plain black plates and forks available if you choose to use them. Any other outside food or drink is not permitted.

Can I decorate for a non-private party/event?

Tablecloths, themed plates and napkins, party favors, and balloon bouquets are great. Anything that needs to be hung on the wall is not. We want your party to be memorable but not due to the damage it causes to our facilities! Also please be mindful of other arcade guests when planning and setting up your decorations. If you have any questions, we’re happy to help.

I had fewer guests show up than expected and don’t need that second wave of food I pre-ordered. Can I get a refund?

Our kitchens order and prep preordered food differently than our regular menu. As a result, and as indicated in your contract, we do not offer refunds for pre-ordered food. However, we would be happy to box up your food for you to take with you!

I had fewer guests than expected, so I want a refund for unused drink tickets.

As previously mentioned, drink tickets are nonrefundable, but you can use them on your next visit!

Can I pre-pay for my non-private party/event?

Sure! Just ask Gayle for a credit card authorization. Please note that if you prepay and you have a higher number of guests than you prepaid for, you are still responsible for the additional admissions. If you prepay and you have a lower number of guests than you prepaid for, our corporate office will issue a refund for the difference to your original payment source. If you are expecting such a refund, please email gayle@freeplayinc.com so she can ensure your refund goes through.

If I don’t pre-pay for my non-private party/event, but I am covering my guests’ admissions, food, and/or drink what are my options?

If you are paying for your guests’ admissions, please arrive a few minutes early so we can start a tab. Similarly, we will run a tab for food and/or drinks per your instructions. Please note we must have a credit card on file in order to run a tab.

Will there be a service charge for my event?

Free Play charges a 20% Service Charge on food and beverage for pre-booked events. Your service charge includes staff and gratuity. If you would like to include additional gratuity, whether before or after your event, please let us know.

PRIVATE VENUE RENTALS

Do you offer private venue rentals?

Yes!

What does a private venue rental cost?

The pricing and minimum food and beverage requirements for a private event rental varies by day, time, location, etc. This information can be found in each location’s party information brochure.

Why is the venue rental fee so much/why are the venue rental minimums so high?

Please keep in mind that our location is regularly open to the public and that we must close (or prep and staff early) for your private event. Every time we close we forfeit our regular revenue and inconvenience our normal customer base. Every time we prep and staff early we forfeit time vital to maintaining and improving our venues. Our venue rental fees are set accordingly. We do offer weekday lunch or 2 p.m. happy-hour rentals as a considerably more affordable option. And because of its smaller size, the private rental of our Denton location makes a great value. Regardless, we understand a private venue rental is a considerable expense, generally only cost-effective for a large party. As an alternative, you might consider a non-private event during our regular business hours.

What food and beverage options are available?

We have a number of standard options but can work with you on a custom menu, drink package, and/or event-themed cocktail as well. Please see your chosen venue’s party information brochure for more information. A complimentary self-serve ice water station is provided in addition to any food and beverage selections.

Do you allow outside caterers?

Yes. We recognize that while our food offering is perfect for a sharable, social gathering, it might not work perfectly for your more formal event. We keep a list of caterers our guests have used in the past, but you are welcome to use the caterer of your choice. Any outside caterer you use will need to add us to their insurance as an additional insured for the day of the event. Please note that if you choose to use an outside caterer, you will still be responsible for your food and drink minimums.

What do I need to do to reserve the space?

We require a signed contract and paid deposit to reserve a venue for your event.

What deposit do you require?

Generally, the deposit is 30% of the venue rental fee. In certain instances, such as a venue rental during peak hours, the required deposit may be higher.

When is final payment for my event due?

Final payment is due no later than 24 hours prior to your event.

What methods of payment do you accept?

For private events, we accept checks, cash, and all major credit cards.

When is my final guest count due?

Your final guest count, not subject to reduction, is due 7 days prior to the date of your event. If you need to increase your guest count, within 7 days of your event date, we will make every reasonable effort to accommodate your request.

When is the latest I can finalize the other details of my private event?

All details for a private party/event must be finalized and confirmed with our staff 7 days prior to the party/event.

Will there be a service charge for my event?

Free Play charges a 20% Service Charge for private events. Your service charge includes staff and gratuity. If you would like to include additional gratuity, whether before or after your event, please let us know.

What is your cancellation policy?

Because we announce the closure of our venue and/or begin acquiring supplies and arranging staffing for your event immediately after you reserve the space, we do not typically offer cancellations. If for some reason you believe you must cancel your event, contact us immediately so that we may explore alternative options.

OTHER COMMON QUESTIONS

I would like to take engagement/senior/other formal pictures in your arcade; can I?

How flattering! Our insurance does not permit 3rd party photo shoots during our normal hours of operation, but we can make our venue available for your formal photos an hour before we open on weekdays. If you are interested in arranging a photo shoot, please contact stephanie@freeplayinc.com and copy gayle@freeplayinc.com.

I would like to shoot a music video or otherwise film in our arcade; can I?

Thanks for thinking of us! Our insurance prohibits 3rd-party filming during regular business hours, but we might be able to work something out prior to opening one day. For us to consider your proposal, please email the specifics of what you are requesting to stephanie@freeplayinc.com and copy gayle@freeplayinc.com. The more detail you provide, the easier it is to evaluate the feasibility of your request.

Would you consider opening early one day for a group of (fill in the blank)?

Typically, we only open early for occasional holidays, or for private venue rentals. Believe it or not, even on weekdays when we open at 3 p.m., staff is usually present on location first thing in the morning cleaning, repairing our games, taking in deliveries, changing our game line-ups, having meetings, etc. As a result, our daytime pre-open hours are vital to our operations and not something we alter lightly. You can see our private venue rental information in each venue’s event brochure. Otherwise, we are open to listening to interesting proposals (please provide as many details as possible), but please know that we receive such inquiries regularly and almost always have to decline.

Would you be interested in participating with our charity?

We pride ourselves on our strong civic involvement and often participate in various charitable endeavors. Every November we run an amazing 25-hour event in our Arlington location raising money with Extra Life for Cook’s Children’s hospitals, we have sponsored the Tarrant County CASA Fun Run for the last two years, and we have set-up two games at our Richardson location to collect quarters for the North Texas Food Bank (just to name a few undertakings of ours). If you have a charitable endeavor you think we might be interested in, please email the details to stephanie@freeplayinc.com.