If you're a gamer then you've probably been faced with this dilemma. You've been invited out for drinks, great! But, you've also just got in from a rough day at the office, and all you want to do is collapse on the couch and play some video games.
But, what if you didn't have to choose? What if you could drink, socialize, and play video games all at the same time? Sounds crazy right? Well, it's not as crazy as you think. In no particular order, here are 7 of the world's best gaming bars and cafes where you can do just that!
[ALT] Gaming Lounge - Nottingham, UK
With its stylish design, inventive cocktails, and focus on friendly and convenient customer service, [ALT] Gaming Lounge has become a beacon for UK gamers far and wide. Based in the bustling, historic city of Nottingham (famous of course as the home of infamous outlaw Robin Hood), [ALT] seeks to give gamers a place to unwind, have a drink, and play a wide variety of games.
Inside, there are a number of unique areas to enjoy. The main lounge section offers visitors a chance to sit in comfort and play a huge selection of retro games. Inside, you'll also find a custom-built VR station, and the crowning jewel itself, the [ALT] PC and console arena. This arena provides full immersion into your game of choice, with custom-built PC rigs, gaming chairs, and powerful headsets. And to top it all off, you can get food and drinks delivered directly to you as you play! If you're looking to eat, drink, and play, you can't go far wrong with [ALT] Gaming Lounge.
Barcade - New York, USA
Sometimes, you just need your fix of retro gaming. And no, I'm not talking about GameCubes or N64s, I'm talking about big, old, beautiful arcade machines. I'm talking Pacman, Space Invaders, and Galaga, played with one big joystick and a couple of simple buttons, worn out by years of aggressive mashing.
Barcade combines two things we all know love: bars and arcades (who would've thought it?). It has a heavy presence in New York City, with two bars in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn, but don't despair if you don't live in the big apple, because there are also Barcade branches in New Jersey, Philadelphia and Connecticut.
The bar was founded by four friends, who quit their day jobs and decided to build a gaming bar after being inspired by their own experiences playing arcade games and drinking beer together. Barcade offers a wide selection of classic arcade machines across all of its locations, and serves up a range of American craft beer. I mean, what's not to love?
Loading Bar - Dalston, UK
Loading Bar is another great gaming location in the UK, based in Dalston, just North-East of central London. Loading Bar has a more modest selection of consoles, but also boasts over 100 board games to play with friends.
However, the most impressive thing about Loading Bar is its selection of cocktails. Trust me, you might want to prepare your liver for this.
The impressive list of cocktails not only includes some killer references (Skyrum? Count me in!), but also ranks its inventive drinks in order of difficulty to finish! For example, the 'Last Call of Duty: Advanced Barfare' cocktail contains Patron XO tequila, Blavod vodka (80% proof), and then another shot of vodka just for good measure. So yeah, that cocktail certainly earns its 'Hard' difficulty rating.
So, if you're looking to play some games and try some badass cocktails, head over to Loading Bar!
EightyTwo Bar - Los Angeles
Video games are great and all, but sometimes you just need to relive the classics. And no, I don't mean Pacman. I mean Pinball. Nothing quite matches the clunk of a quarter dropping into the machine, the pinging noise of the ball bouncing around the colorful backboard, or the lights flashing up as you smash your friend's latest high score.
If you're over 21, and longing to relive this little piece of nostalgia then you should definitely check out EightyTwo, one of Los Angeles' best arcade bars. According to their website, EightyTwo features:
"A rotating collection of 50 pinball and arcade machines, a full bar, outdoor patio, nightly DJs, and weekly arcade and pinball competitions."
Furthermore, entry is always free at EightyTwo, but it is a very popular place, so if you don't want to queue then you may have to get there early. So go grab some quarters, those high scores aren't gonna beat themselves!
42 Lounge - Milwaukee
If you're in the mood to play a more modern selection of games, then 42 Lounge in Milwaukee may just be the place for you. Their line-up includes a wide selection of PS4 and Xbox One Games, a Wii U (for those intense Smash Bros. sessions!) and even the new Nintendo Switch!
Games are "ordered" in the same way you'd order drinks. Go to the bar, tell the bartender what game you want, and they'll fetch it for you. There's no time limits, just an honor policy, so if you've been hogging Mario Kart for three hours, maybe it's time to let someone else have a turn...
Also, if you're feeling a little parched then 42 Lounge has you covered with an exciting selection of geeky cocktails, including the incredibly awesome "Butterbeer", a must-have for any fan of Harry Potter!
Meltdown Bar - Various Locations
Casual gaming is great and all, but sometimes you just need a little bit of competition. The adrenaline-pumping, heart-racing, high octane thrills that only an intensely competitive sport, or esport, can provide.
Meltdown is a chain of gaming bars, with locations ranging from Paris and London, all the way to Madrid and Montreal! At Meltdown, esports is kinda a big deal, and they're proud to offer all the streams you can handle, alongside high-end gaming rigs to play competitive titles such as Dota 2, League of Legends, Overwatch, and basically any other esport title you can think of.
All of their PCs and consoles are also free to play, and they've got plenty of drinks to keep you nicely hydrated as you fight your way through large-scale tournaments which anyone can enter! But if you're looking to win, you're gonna have to bring your A-game, because these guys aren't playing around.
8 Bit Cafe - Tokyo
If you're a connoisseur of video games then at some point you'll probably have to embark on a pilgrimage to their spiritual home, Japan. And if you happen to find yourself in Japan, make sure to visit Tokyo to visit one of the quirkiest little gaming spots you'll ever see.
8Bit Cafe is the very definition of quality over quantity, with its small, cosy layout and homely atmosphere. 8Bit Cafe boasts a nostalgic collection of retro Nintendo consoles and a huge number of geeky decorations, giving the cafe a distinctively cluttered style.
For Nintendo fans in particular, this place is paradise, offering an endless number of SNES games and classic memorabilia from the height of the 80s era. 8Bit Cafe is perfect for a nostalgic blast from gaming's illustrious past, so if you think you're a video game aficionado then 8Bit Cafe is definitely the place for you!
Eat, Drink, Play
As the gaming industry grows bigger with each passing day, the market for gaming bars and cafes continues to grow stronger. As one of the most popular pastimes across the globe, it's great to see the stigmas associated with gaming breaking down, with more and more people embracing the fun, awesome spirit of video games.
So, if you're new to gaming, or a die hard gamer for life, then the bars and cafes on this list are a great place to experience new and exciting things in the world of video games, whilst also meeting some like-minded people who are probably just as awesome as you are!
Have you been to any of the bars on this list? And what other gaming bars do you love? Let us know in the comments below!
You might also like: