Nothing says summer like spending hours indoors with the blinds closed playing video games! Ok we enjoy a Sunday sesh on one of Melbourne’s many amazing rooftop bars as much as anyone, but there’s just something about crushing your mate in a game of Street Fighter while knocking back a couple of brews that’s so satisfying.
With that in mind, we've put together a list of some of Melbourne’s best video game bars (just please don’t knock off my high score in Pac-Man).
This awesome little basement bar hidden down Flinders Lane has one of the best collections of retro video games in the city (not to alarm you, but they have an original Donkey Kong…yeah). With a solid drinks list and trivia nights and games tournaments held pretty frequently—there’s a Golden Eye N64 tournament coming up soon— Bartronica is one of the best inner city destinations for gamers looking for a bev!
From the same crew that brought us Mr. Wow’s Emporium, this Fitzroy ‘barcade’ (that’s arcade-bar) brings together two of our favourite things—video games and cocktails. Pixel Alley’s fantastic drinks list includes gaming inspired cocktails, imported beers and video-game-themed boozy milkshakes! With heaps of retro arcade games, Pixel alley is basically a grown-up playground for 80’s kids—but with booze.
This Collingwood drinking establishment is a bit more low-key than the other bars on our list. Classic arcade games run along the walls, including Street Fighter, Mortal Combat and Double Dragon, and there’s a couple of couches and booths to chill out in as well. Forgotten Worlds feels a lot like your childhood mates basement gaming hangout, except with craft beer. It’s a great stop for an after work drink and a quick game of Virtua Cop.
This one is a little different to the other venues we’ve listed. Just across from Glenferrie station in Hawthorn, Beta Bar is open every Friday and hosts different geek-themed events every week. This unique hub for geeks and gamers emphasises the community aspect of gaming, providing a place for gamers to grab a drink, socialise and play some of their favourite video and board games. They do heaps of different events, including trivia nights, games tournaments (from Mario Kart to Rock Band) and themed party nights. They also occasionally host local indie game launches too, so make sure to keep an eye out for those!
If you enjoy the simple pleasures of a good ol’ board game then Alchemist’s Refuge is your kind of place. Located under the Games Laboratory on Lonsdale Street, the Refuge has a huge library of board games and a pretty decent roster of rotating craft beers too. The guys there are all super chill, more than happy to teach you how to play a new game or even step in and adjudicate a heated game if needed! They’re not just all about the board games though; every Friday there’s a Super Smash Bros tournament and every second Thursday they host a trivia night. Next time you pass through the Games Laboratory make sure you take a trip downstairs!
Bonus Round: 29th Apartment
Ok, this one doesn’t have video games but their giant Jenga set is infamous for bringing out the competitiveness in many a bar patron! There are quite a few great bars in Melbs that are boasting board game nights and the like, but 29th Apartment is one of our favs. Grab a glass of red and have a quick game of Guess Who or get some Connect Four action while you enjoy a pint. Make sure you tuck into their cheap meal deals too!
Image Credit: Pixel Alley