Computers, Capcom and cocktails… All the makings of a good night out!
Some people relax by going out for a drink with their friends; others like to sit down and play a video game. Fortunately, Melbourne has plenty of bars where you can do both. Arcade bars relish in their old-school influence: they name their drinks after iconic characters and games both modern and classic, they display their memorabilia proudly and, of course, they’ve got plenty of games available for you to play. Here are three of our favourite such bars, all located in the heart of Melbourne — check them out next time you’re in the city and get your game on!
B. Lucky & Sons
Location: Melbourne Central, level 3
Website: https://www.luckyandsons.com.au/ (choose Melbourne Central)
Found in Melbourne Central, B. Lucky & Sons combines a classic arcade with a pawn shop aesthetic. The result is a nostalgic dream. You can enjoy games ranging from Mario Kart and Space Invaders to the more active NBA Hoops, or risk it all on the lottery style games to try and win tickets to take to the pawn shop, where you can exchange your tickets for prizes ranging from small action figures to rare collectibles and old-school game consoles. On top of all that, you can order from a range of pizzas, share dishes, bubble cups (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and cocktails, and the bar has a great selection of wines to choose from.
B. Lucky and Sons is also under-18 friendly, welcoming younger gamers into the venue up until 8pm.
Good if you like: Street Fighter, “active” games (basketball, skee-ball, etc), 80s and 90s memorabilia, and gambling for tickets.
Location: 335 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Bartronica is, as the name suggests, an electronic wonderland. Not only does it have an excellent selection of arcade cabinets, such as the ever-popular Time Crisis II, but it also features pinball machines, with a wide range of machines available. You can play a round of AC/DC inspired pinball, take one step to the left, and immediately play on a machine that has roots in Family Guy. There are so many games available it’s almost claustrophobic, and to top it all off, you can book booths containing classic consoles for yourself and your friends to enjoy a night of booze-fuelled nostalgic action.
Good if you like: Single-player arcade games, old-school console games, seeing a picture of Mario holding a beer, and drinks that reference pop culture.
Location: The basement at 93/95 Queen Street, Melbourne
Slightly different from the other bars on the list, GGEZ is less about playing the games and more about watching them. Australia’s first esports bar, GGEZ is set up like practically any other sports bar: stools, tables, and, most importantly, plenty of screens. Of course, you won’t be watching the latest game of football or cricket. Instead, GGEZ is about watching gamers go head to head in professional esports tournaments. For those looking for more active involvement, GGEZ has you covered with trivia nights and the occasional tournament of their own so there’s something for everyone. With neon lighting giving it a futuristic vibe and a menu sure to please even the most picky of eaters, GGEZ is the perfect hub for esports fans.
Good if you like: Watching professionals duke it out, yelling at your friends about why your team is better, yelling at the TV about why your team is better, and trivia nights.
Those are our three favourites, but we all know that Melbourne is a city full of hidden gems; let us know in the comments below, or on our social media, if we’ve missed your favourite gaming bar either in the CBD or outside it and we’ll be sure to check it out!
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