I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and this is what I would frequent listed by frequency of useage.
1. ) Malibu Grand Prix - Redwood City.
This one was really cool back in the early 90's. It was actually two arcades. One was the castleand it had the Mini golf course, the batting cages, the redemption ticket games, the crappy food area with the big screen that had burnt out colors and the most recent arcade machnes. This is where they would have rows of Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter.
Then there was the other arcade which was a few yards out from the castle and that's where the mini cars were at and the two tracks for it. The arcade in that one is wherethey would keep the older version of games and just the older games in general. Mostly the stand up games as well.
I was there pretyt much every weekend because my dad would pick me up and drop me off there while he spent the day (and all of his money / child support for my mom) at Bay Meadows, the horse racing track. Which is actually my #2 arcade
2.) Bay Meadows Race Track: San Mateo
This was about 10 miles away from Malibu Grand Prix and it had a pretty decent arcade at that time. I remember that was the first place I played Darkstalkers. I remember at first that game didn't get too much play but after about a week it was juas as popular as MK2 at that time. The cool thing about that place was that tere were a lot of regulars there and you would know who's good and if someone beat that guy that was good people would know. eventhough I hated that place, the arcade was great.
3.) Q-Zar: Redwood City
My dad actually lived about 2 blacks away from there at one point but he would never let me go there alone ( I was about 10 at that time) because that place was pretty ghetto. I really went there for the lazer tag though. The arcade was ok, that was the first place I played Virtua FIghter 2 and the D&D arcade game, but again, I went there for the lazer tag.
4.) Classic Bowl: Daly City
Eventhough that was the closet to where I lived I didn't go there as much. The arcade was pretty small and they would only have one machine of whatever popular game but if I ended up there it was usually because I was bowling. What was better than that was that right accross the parking lot there was an italian restruant that had a few machines in it and when Classic got a bit too crowded,lal you had to do was take a few steps accross the parking lot to the restraunt. You just had to provided your own change because they didn't sell too much food there.