2020: Where Retro Gaming Bars Compete with Virtual Reality Bars

In 2020, anything with a quirky twist is bound to be a huge hit with millennials and generation Z. The younger generations are big fans of all things that are little bit different, especially when it comes to the drinking scene. From rooftop bars, to bowling alley bars, crazy golf bars and even ice bars — these have all become monumentally popular in recent years. Just going out for a few ordinary drinks doesn’t quite cut it anymore. People, and young people especially, are wanting experiences that are more exciting, memorable and, in our social-media loving world, “Instagrammable”. Naturally, therefore, it is no real surprise that the next exciting upcoming trend is gaming bars, which are becoming rapidly popular in big cities.

These types of bars smoothly incorporate varying types of games, from retro games to VR experiences, with great selections of alcoholic beverages, which is of course a brilliant combination in a lot of people’s books.

If you fancied taking a trip down to London, be sure to hit up The Four Quarters gaming bar. Based on Peckham’s bustling Rye Lane, boasts an array of locally brewed craft beers and exciting cocktails to be enjoyed alongside some of the best retro video games out there, from Street Fighter II to the classic and beloved Pac Man. The Four Quarters has more than 15 original arcade cabs from the early 80’s to the 2000’s, and a snug upstairs room with a further 10 retro consoles, which can be enjoyed any day of the week bar Sundays. They even have a club space, known as “The Confession Box” (open Thursdays to Saturdays), and have a great food selection from the afternoon onwards, which includes great vegan and veggie options, as well as lots of delicious burgers to choose from for any meat lovers out there. It’s no real wonder that The Four Quarters has become hugely popular as an alternative drinking spot.

But, if the London trek doesn’t appeal, have no fear! Sheffield’s Arcade Lounge is here to answer all your nostalgic needs. With it’s collection of vintage classics and current gen games, there is something for everyone, and for all ages.

However, of course the successes of the retro bars haven’t come without competition. Otherworld, based in Haggerston, London, has been praised by the Evening Standard as “London’s most immersive VR arcade”.  An innovative use of 4D technology, combining heat, wind, motion and top-end VR hardware enables players to feel the virtual environments, allowing you to be completely immersed in the experience. The Otherworld boasts a wide selection of the best virtual reality games and experiences on the market, whilst simultaneously offering up a brilliant selection of drinks, including in-house original cocktails and even alcohol-free options.

Video games have become a huge part of many people’s lives over the past handful of decades. Whilst playing online games, falling down that YouTube hole and getting hooked on a great online bingo sites is fun, these certainly aren’t the most social of pastimes. Spending evenings in, or several hours at the weekend alone playing online games can quickly become very isolating, which is known in the long-term to have negative impacts on our mental health and well-being. In part, the success of these gaming and virtual reality bars is arguably down to the social element which they bring to the gaming world. They enable keen players and enthusiasts to still enjoy some down time doing what they love best, whilst interacting with others who have the same hobbies and interests. Otherworld even allows you to book onto VR experiences in groups, meaning you can get your friends and family involved in gaming where they otherwise might not bother. Otherworld offers their classic “Otherworld” dimension to play, involving zombies and ancient worlds, as well as a Doctor Who dimension and a Björk dimension, of course involving Iceland and its impressive landscapes. All of these dimensions are easy for absolutely anyone to get onboard with, even if gaming isn’t really your cup of tea. So, getting newbie friends and family members involved shouldn’t be too much of an issue at all.

Another reason as to why these gaming and virtual reality bars are becoming so popular is arguably down to the fact that their main focus isn’t just on the consumption of alcohol. Whilst you can of course enjoy great drinks at these bars, you certainly won’t feel left out if you’re the designated driver or are simply trying to be healthier in the new decade. More and more people are now choosing to go teetotal, for a variety of good reasons, and quirky bars, such as The Four Quarters and Otherworld definitely cater to the rising trend of people consuming less alcohol.

As nightlife and drinking trends change, and people wish to see gaming become more social, these types of bars are only set to continue in their success and increasing popularity. People want something that is more exciting than your typical drinking experience these day, and these bars are without a doubt delivering on that demand.

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