Australia Is About To Get A Lot More Gaming Bars

At one point it looked as though The Mana Bar was about to become quite the franchise. After its successful opening in Brisbane and a subsequent launch in Melbourne, plans were being drafted for Sydney. But now things have cooled. The Melbourne Mana Bar shut down, and plans for a Sydney bar have been shuttered. That leaves quite the gap, and quite the opportunity for someone interested in opening a gaming themed bar. Turns out we now have a bunch of contenders.

Beta Bar

Melbourne The Beta Bar is probably the newest contender, but when you consider that it's being run by Skaidris Gunsmith and Bonnie Bradley, former employees of The Mana Bar in Melbourne, this bar might have the best chance at being an actual real thing. There's a business plan in place and their new Facebook page seems indicative of two people who've been there, done that, and know precisely what needs to be done the second time around. They look keen to support the local indie scene — which is a great call considering Melbourne has the most concentrated amount of Indie developers in Australia.

It's early days of course, but I'm keen to see how this goes.

Spawn Point

Sydney This one is a bit less visible in terms of social media and whatnot, but seems a bit more ahead in terms of actual planning and where the team is at.

Spawn Point has a venue sorted out (a short walk from Town Hall) and all other applications, like liquor licenses and what not, are currently underway.

Most likely this is the bar that will actually launch first. Looking forward to seeing how it all turns out.

Power Up

Melbourne Power Up is in its early stages and has launched a Pozible campaign to raise funds to get things moving. It's being run by "a group of young entrepreneurs and hospitality professionals" but at this stage we know very little about what Power Up is going to look or feel like. The idea is to create a place for 'nerds' or all kinds: board game nerds, anime nerds, video game nerds.

You can find out more about Power Up here at its Pozible page.


    The Melbourne Mana Bar shut down

    I know there were articles about it being in trouble and closing down, but I don't remember an article about it actually closing down. Did everybody really forget about it so quickly?

      ^^ that's exactly why it closed down

        That and it wasn't really what people wanted from a gaming bar...

          Yeah, I went there during Pax Aus and it was pretty lousy.

            I actually went there twice, and had a lot of fun both times. The cocktails were enjoyable, if expensive. The location and horrid liquor licensing arrangement was what really killed them - they were shut by 11pm, ffs!

              My biggest problem, and it wasn't the club's fault, was that it was packed full because of Pax and it was filled with that trademark smell of nerd hygiene, or lack thereof!

    Very intrigued to see how these Melbourne efforts turn out. Would love to be able to support a 'local' at a place I can fairly easily drop in.

    I always thought that the Melb Mana bars placement was stupid. None of the brainless dickheads that infest Brunswick street on a weekend are interested in a gaming bar, they are interested in people complementing their deep v-neck and getting in a fight. It seems like Beta Bar is planning for the CBD and that makes way more sense. More young people about, plus tourists as well.

      The only time I went to Melb Mana Bar I witnessed a man get punched in the face up against a stationary tram. Then the bar closed before midnight in some sort of apparent licensing and rowdiness issue. Then I went next door and drank a coffee and watched hippies play bucket drums.

    How does the Mana Bar in Brisbane do these days? Every time I go past when it's open (not often these days admittedly) it's empty. I found the cocktails to be overpriced (well, standard price for a cocktail bar but everywhere's overpriced for cocktails) and not that great which was disappointing for a cocktail bar. The gaming side of the bar was good but the stools and tables aren't really designed for gaming. Basically it needs a revamp of the cocktail list and a better venue that allows groups to sit down comfortably. Maybe I'm just expecting too much though

      Yup, Brisbane was so underwhelming. It's a tiny room with a few consoles set-up, and completely overpriced cocktails you could make at home pretty easily.

      Trivia night was alright. Go Mario Speedwagon!

      Maybe I'm just expecting too much though

      I think that's always going to be somewhat the case for a gaming bar. I think most people's ideal gaming bar is just everyone pooling together their lounge rooms into one location. Less of a bar and more of an extremely rich friends house. =P

      A revamp is possibly happening- a new buyer (the old manager) has taken over. As far as I know a new cocktail list is already there.

    Woo, something in Sydney!

    I miss Insert Coin(s). Those were fun.

      Yep, I went to a couple of those and they seemed to be pretty packed too.... great nights out even if the games were overcrowded (loved the pinnies).

    AWWWWWWWWWWEEEE YEAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH.... a Gamers bar called spawn point... I'm down for that! finally Sydney stops getting ripped for awesome bars :)

    I went to the Mana bar once, @sughly vomitted :D

      Right after we played Killer Instinct on Xbone. Coincidence?

    I'll be interested to see what happens with Beta Bar. I had assumed things weren't quite working out long term at the Mana Bar and that they used the PAX Aus boom to wipe the slate and get out.
    I always felt like I needed a reason to go to Mana Bar. Hopefully their attempts to make it more of a community center means there's always a reason to go. They're also being smart to count the later hours and CBD location as non-negotiable. Brunswick St is great if you live in Fitzroy but I've always found it oddly out of the way for a place that's so near the center of the city. Being within walking distance of Southern Cross, Melbourne Central or Flinder St gives it the proper level of accessibility a more niche bar needs.

      I hadn't clicked through for theirs until I read your post. That actually sounds really good, and like it hits on the point someone brought up back in previous discussion on this kind of thing - that these places need to be more of a place with games that happens to serve drinks, rather than a place that serves drinks which also happen to have games. Hope they can get it off the ground.

    Re Power Up

    It’s being run by “a group of young entrepreneurs and hospitality professionals”

    And clearly there are no graphic designers involved. That font choice.

    (Edit: I originally said Beta Bar, but meant Power Up. The one with the bad font and logo)

    Last edited 21/05/14 4:03 pm

      The logo there was a temp one they had to put up, their new logo is much better.

    A little off topic but as someone who doesn't use facebook, it's a little annoying when someone sets up a page and makes is accessable only to facebook members. I want to find out more about Spawn Point but I can't (and no, I'm not signing up to facebook just for that).

    Last edited 21/05/14 4:13 pm

      - Capacity = We are hoping for a 60 Person MAX Capacity
      - Type Of Bar = Small Bar
      - Will there be consoles = YES!
      - Location = Clarence Street (Near RedOak) in a Basement!
      - Venue = Secured (A Short walk from Town Hall)
      - Council DA = Application Lodged and Under Way
      - Liquor Licence = Application Lodged
      - Staff = Getting Excited
      - Drinks Menu = Being Created (we need your ideas!)
      - Interior Design = Final Designs Under Way

      That's all the info they have by the looks of it.

      But if you don't sign up to facebook how will you do your stalking? and others to let stalk you?!

    I remember trying to setup gaming nights at a local bar a few beers, and a few years back but Sony would have none of it. Could you reach out to them for Comment Mark and try and figure out where the change occured? Not complaining as a place with Beers and Games and no Teenagers would be a welcome respite, compared to most watering holes in Sydney.

    Retro arcade videogame bar. These guys don't mess around. Original cabinets.

    One gaming bar for Brisbane.
    One for Sydney.
    Two gaming bars for Melbourne, you go Melbourne!
    And none for Perth, byeee.

    Last edited 22/05/14 2:12 am

      Perth kinda has more of a ....Gaming Cafe rather then a bar.
      The type of Cafe that sell coffee and such but with arcade games

    I never went to Mana Bar. I was excited to go when it first opened. Then Next thing I knew it was closing down in a week and I was again, excited to go for the first/last time. But I never did.

    Maybe, Beta Bar, maybe.

    I couldnt imagine surrounding myself by a bunch of drunk geeks on a saturday night.
    A gaming cafe (as someone mentioned above) is my kind of place.
    If im gonna be ripped off, id rather be ripped off for good coffee that crappy alcohol

    Last edited 22/05/14 6:12 am

      I'm sure they would also sell coffee. Not just alcohol.

    To add to this - there's a new board game cafe/bar opening up in Brisbane called Club Sosay! For any locals its in Paddington on corner of Latrobe and Given Tce. Opens on the 21st of May 2016 for all keen/awesome gamers!

    Charli - social media team Club Sosay

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