We all love a good nostalgic trip, a hark back to carefree days of our youth. From cartoons to sweets, clothing to certain songs which were soundtracks to our young lives. And games. Not just games you played with your mates conjured up from the depths of your imagination, but games on original consoles. Sega Mega Drive. Nintendo 64. Amstrad! Remember? Well, recently we’ve noticed a growing trend in London. A retro gaming trend in bars across the city. Bars that allow us to relive our youth, while simultaneously drinking alcohol like adults because we can. Here London’s best retro gaming bars.
The Old School Yard
A great name for a great lively bar near London Bridge, The Old School Yard does exactly what it says on the tin – everything is old school. They play the best (and worst) in 90s pop music, have a foosball table and a pizza menu themed on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (five pizzas, each named after the turtles and April O’Neil). Most importantly though, they have a Nintendo 64 console with the classic Mario Kart game as well as the original arcade version of TMNT. Play these with a cocktail from the extensive menu and you’re set for a fun-filled night.
The Old School Yard, 109-111 Long Ln, London SE1 4PH
A bar that’s kitted out to look like the ultimate gamer’s bachelor pad, Meltdown proudly boasts that they are the first e-sports bar to open in London – in other words, a pub where gaming is the theme. After successful launches in Paris and Berlin, Meltdown opened its third branch in London. From retro classics such as Starcraft II, Street Fighter IV, and League of Legends, to FIFA football tournaments this place acquires to all gamers’ tastes.
Meltdown, 342 Caledonian Rd, London N1 1BB
Retro gaming pop-up specialists, Retrotainment have been providing fun and nostalgic nights since June 2013. They have a host of classic consoles like Master System (incl. 3-d glasses), Mega Drive, Game Gear, Mega CD (with karaoke system), Mega 32X, Saturn and Dreamcast, as well as all the games you could remember from your youth, some of the most popular being Golden Axe, Streets of Rage 2, Final Fight and Double Dragon. Once gamers have had their fair share they then get to take part in a ‘Final Fight’ tournament at the end of the night. Classic beat ’em up, winner stays on.
Popping up in various venues.
After a stint in Soho, Loading has now relocated to Stoke Newington – more specifically, Scenario Bar on the high street. As well as old school arcade games Loading also boasts classic retro board games. Oh, and did we mention the drinks? They have various cocktails named after games, such Donkey Konga! and Resident Evil “G&T Virus”, as well as Sonic 3 and Mario shots and a wide variety of Pokemon-themed drinks. Loading’s certainly come a long way since its original inception in Falmouth in 2010.
Loading, 97 Stoke Newington High Street, London, N16 8BX
Without doubt the quaintest venue on our list, what with its Goldilocks and the Three Bears-styled chairs and teapot sets, yet believe it or not the guys here at Simmons love their retro gaming as much as the rest of us. The console of their choice is the Sega Mega Drive and the games…well, they have quite a bundle in their arsenal. Play your favourite with a tasty cocktail as 1980s disco is played and Prince Charles and Lady Diana watch down on you from their framed picture on the bookshelf – how lovely.
Simmons, 32 Caledonian Road, Islington, London, N1 9DT