Funlab is known for updating the classics. First it was 10-pin bowling with Strike Bowling. Then came minigolf with Holey Moley. The Melbourne-based company gave both a nightclub feel, with DJs, neon lighting and fully stocked bars. The approach created venues that struck a careful balance between nostalgia and excitement.
Now comes B. Lucky & Sons – Funlab’s take on an arcade bar where everything, it seems, is turned up to eleven. B. Lucky’s first point of difference? The place has a backstory, informing everything from the design to the menu, the intention being to immerse punters in a whole new world.
“It really helps everyone get behind the concept when there is a story they can follow and understand,” says Funlab CEO Michael Schreiber.
Cue Bill Lucky. The fictional character at the centre of the adults-only arcade bar is a London gangster with a global chain of pawnshops. In Funlab’s story, he’s teamed up with a Chinese triad to conceal illegal casinos behind his storefronts.
The Fortitude Valley venue sells the idea via entry through a prize room displaying items behind glass cabinets, much like a regular pawnshop (it helps the prizes are mostly collectables sourced from eBay). Then, concealed behind curtains, is the main event – an arcade-game floor set up in the style of a casino with loads of old-world charm.
Of the games, Schreiber reckons the evergreens will always be the favourites – basketball, Skee-Ball and Mario Kart.
The 18-plus venue successfully launched in Melbourne earlier this year, with a line snaking down the street just to get in. Schreiber thinks the Brisbane edition, in the heritage-listed TC Beirne department store, will be even more popular.
“The layout is a bit better, bigger,” he says. “We really like the location being in between Brunswick [Street] and Chinatown – it sort of plays into the backstory.”
“It’s all East meets West,” says Schrieber of the design layout. "There are neon signs to make it look like you’re walking down the street in Hong Kong, next to distinctly English features.”
The mash-up plays out on the food and drinks menu too, with stone-baked pizzas and various sides served alongside canned cocktails, craft beer and spiked bubble tea.
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on September 25 2018. Menu items may have changed since publication.
B. Lucky & Sons
315 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley
1300 058 259
Mon to Wed 12pm–10pm Thu to Sat 12pm–2am Sun 12pm–10pm