Just like Clark Kent remained incognito when not in Superman gear, Logan Hardware appears to be nothing more than your run-of-the-mill record store from the outside. But step inside and you’ll find a real gem: a world of nostalgia suited for kids — and you, too, Mom and Dad, if you’re kids at heart. Records, vintage toys and kitsch abound. But the real superhero of this store is the super-secret arcade hiding behind closed doors.

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photo: Logan Hardware Facebook page

The record store
Sift through old records, sort through your favorite CDs of yesteryear or show your kids what a VHS tape looks like — there is plenty to explore in the front of the shop. With lots of room for snooping around, you could spend hours singing your way down memory lane. With some 45s as cheap as 99 cents, it’s easy to take a few home for a spin on your own record player (if you still have one). Check out the store’s Facebook page as they’ll occasionally have musicians perform live in-store concerts.

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photo: Samantha Lande

The toys & nostalgia
But there’s not just music to peruse; the front of the store is also full of nostalgic kitsch. Shelves hold everything from concert buttons to ET rings, Super Mario figurines to Fisher Price classic toys, and Garbage Pail Kids to Alf stickers. All of it is really reasonably priced if you (or your little ones) can’t leave the store without it.

The secret code
The clincher is, you’ll probably want to purchase a little something because the only way into the arcade is via a secret code written on the back of your receipt. Don’t worry about spending a lot —little green army men and bouncy balls will only run you 25 cents and end up buying you an endless afternoon of arcade games.

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photo: Carolina Mariana

The arcade
Punch in the secret code on the door and enter the secret room full arcade games and pinball machines. (They rotate them in and out, swapping games with their neighboring “barcade” that has the same name). Classics like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, QBert and Burger Time are titles frequently found. No coins, no tokens, free play is all yours until the store closes at 9 p.m. (or it’s bedtime).

Logan Hardware
2532 W. Fullerton Ave.
Logan Square
773-235-5030
Online: logan-hardware.com
Hours:  Mon.-Sat., noon-9 p.m., Sun., noon-7 p.m.

Do you know this secret spot? Have any city secrets of your own to share? Let us know in the Comments below!

— Samantha Lande