In the not so distant past games arcades were the only places to play video games. And while arcades have gone the way of video shops and one-hour photo labs, many people still have a soft spot for those old games palaces. A few bars around town have cottoned on to this, so why not share a drink with your old mate Donkey Kong.
Here are some Sydney bars that will bring this dream to life.
With its lantern-festooned patio, karaoke booths and open-late kitchen, Goros has proved a hit with Japanophiles. Another selling point is the bar's mini arcade, which includes two Tekken machines, NBA Jam, Point Blank 2, and Street Fighter. "Japan is such ridiculous fun and there's a never-ending supply of games places, so we're trying to provide something like that," says general manager Rob Kilby. And there’s more to come. "We're getting an air-hockey table in a couple of weeks, and we're trying to figure out where we can squeeze a couple of car games in," says Kilby.
Barbarello's Pizza and Arcade @ The Sugarmill
Barbarello's is a pop-up bar specialising in red-sauce Italian, Negronis and a bit of hip-hop thrown in for good measure. Inside's all low-hanging lamps and red-topped tables, but the venue's arcade is the highlight. There’s Pac-Man, Big Buckhunter and rev heads can race their friends on the twin Fast and the Furious driving consoles. Prefer pinnies? Then you're in luck – there’s six. But don't wait to visit – Barbarello's is scheduled to finish up on September 1.
Formerly known as Spooning Goats (you can sign a petition at the bar to lobby the Office of Liquor and Gaming to let the bar's full name be used), the SG is a pleasant small bar offering local craft beer and a convivial living-room feel. The bar also caters to retro video game fans. Street Fighter (in a Xenon console) proves popular, as does the multi-game table machine, which has the classics Pac-Man, Gallagher, Space Invaders, 1942, Frogger and Donkey Kong. There’s also a vintage Sega Master System console and a stack of games including Sonic the Hedgehog, Wonder Boy and Alex Kidd.
Pinball HQ at Coogee Diggers
Set inside Coogee Diggers club, Pinball HQ offers 13 machines, ranging from new releases to classic ‘90s-era tables. You can play Elvis, Star Trek, Dirty Harry and more. A new, limited-edition, already-sold-out around the world KISS pinnie will also be arriving soon. Pinball HQ offers regular meets and competitions, including a Wednesday-night comp which rolls until the last Thursday of the month when a monthly winner is crowned – it’s endorsed by the International Flipper Pinball Association. The bar has Young Henrys, Rocks Brewing and Coopers.
Corner Carr and Byron Streets, Coogee
A beloved Newtown pub that manages to pack them in and keep them happy, all without really doing anything fancy, the Courty has long been a hangout for Newtownians who don't want to go home. The big beer garden ranks among the city's finest, and the public bar offers a great place to hole up and watch the Swans play. The Courty also caters to pinball enthusiasts with a dedicated room featuring eight machines such as Attack from Mars, Twilight Zone, and Creature from the Blue Lagoon.
The northern CBD's favourite underground pizza parlour with attached dive bar remains ever popular. And in addition to live music and craft beer by the keg full, Frankie's has its own little pinball alley jammed with musically themed machines. "We had the space already there, and the owner's girlfriend said one day before we opened that it would make a great pinball alley. And so it was," says Jason Scott from Frankie's. "Everyone plays them, not just the pinball wizards." They have AC/DC, Guns N' Roses and Rolling Stones machines, plus a Family Guy table for fans of the Griffin family.