During my ongoing my quest for geeky haunts in the big smoke, there was one place that kept cropping up, both in conversations and online.
Scenario in Dalston, part of the Loading Bar chain, is one of the regular spots for gamers who enjoy their sociable playing alongside their drinks. Set in bright graffiti-esque tones, it instantly stands out on the high street from all the other regular pubs.
The edginess is strong in this one
Myself and my good friend kicked the evening off with some of the bar's famous gaming-inspired cocktails, poured by the brains behind the Loading Bar chain, Jimmy. The names of these drinks certainly made me chuckle. Not to mention, if the bar is hosting a launch, they will design a cocktail to fit in with the game's theme!
I went for the Skyrum, being the Bethesda nut that I am. It had a wonderful kick to it, and if I closed my eyes I could almost imagine that I was in the Riverwood Inn, with a mediocre bard singing 'Ragnar the Red' in the background.
Why play games, when you can drink 'em?
But of course, I didn't want to close my eyes! Because this bar had plenty to see.
Upstairs housed a comfy chill out area, complete with a shelf of board games for all the table-top players to enjoy. The events manager of the bar, Andy, informed me that once a week (AKA 'Tabletop Tuesdays') visitors pop along to the bar with new board games for punters to try out, and often generously donate them to the venue's ever growing collection.
Downstairs sits an underground gaming burrow, filled with every sort of platform you could imagine. From retro consoles dating back to yesteryears, to classic full length arcade machines, to the newest consoles on the block. The owners very much encourage multi-player gaming, as this is a way for groups of friends to enjoy themselves, or even a method for visitors to make new buddies through a mutual hobby.
I think they may need a bigger shelf to fit all these table-top games soon...
It just so happened that the time we chose to visit was a laid back launch night for the all-new cyberpunk game, Ruiner. (They were also offering free shots to any customers who tried out the game. Just FYI for future reference.)
Myself and my pal gave the game a good shot. And naturally we were absolute pros. We certainly did not set the difficulty to easy, or die a million times, or not grasp the controls properly even after twenty minutes of play time.
ANYWAY. The bar is no stranger to events, being one of the most popular choices for multiple gaming labels. Many launches are often hosted the day before a game’s release, as the bar also operates as a retailer. This way, customers can actually purchase the game once the clock strikes midnight, and be one of the first to play it.
Not only that, but the bar will match the online retail price, which is substantially cheaper than the high street. Pretty neat, huh?
I. WANT. IT. ALL
As mentioned previously, Scenario is a part of the Loading Bar chain. This means that you can also get your gaming kicks in Stratford at Secret Weapon. Or, if you’re fancying a bit of a trip away from the capital and love the seaside, Side Quest is scheduled to open in Brighton on the 21st October.
If you want to head along to a launch night yourself at Scenario, they have scheduled a night for the release of Middle Earth: Shadow of War on October 10th, as well as the unveiling of South Park: The Fractured but Whole on the 17th October. The gang also run a sweet little podcast, Un-Loading, talking all things video games, which you can listen to here.
Sociable seating to relax on with your drink, whilst casually shooting enemies on screen
Lastly, I want to say that this bar had a great atmosphere from the moment I walked in. Even on a Tuesday evening, it was buzzing and alive with gamers of all kinds. Jimmy, Andy and the rest of the staff were warm, welcoming and knowledgeable. I absolutely guarantee that you will have a corker of a night at any of the Loading Bars.
As for me? I’m looking forward to heading over to Secret Weapon next month, for the RTX convention after-party. For more on this, stayed tuned to the old bloggy.
For more information on the Loading Bars, check out their website, Facebook and Twitter.