Archie Brothers Electric Circus is a vast, circus-themed funhouse in Alexandria that mixes the old and new. It’s a retro Coney Island-style amusement park that melds classic arcade concepts and old-world circuses of the past with the addition of virtual reality, a laser-tag arena and an interactive 3D-theatre ride.
“We’ve taken the energy and craziness of the circus and side show and upcycled it for the 21st century,” says Michael Schreiber, CEO of Funlab.
Funlab is the team behind the concept – you may know it from its other ventures: Holey Moley Golf Club, Strike Bowling and Sky Zone.
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When you enter Archie Brothers the first thing you see is a jumble of neon lights, novelty props and prizes. There’s the usual culprits, such as collectable merchandise, but also festival tickets and whisky tasting.
Past this is a deconstructed carousel draped with festive lighting, velvet curtains and gold trimmings. That’s Dazzler’s Diner, a restaurant and bar serving carnival favourites including four types of burgers, pizzas, kransky hotdogs with chilli, fried chicken and loaded potato gems. And there’s The Ringmaster, an indulgent dessert of caramel, popcorn, whipped cream, Tim Tams and pretzel sticks.
At the bar you can order a number of colourful virgin and spiked shakes. There’s the Salted Caramel Circpresso, which combines espresso, chocolate, Baileys, vodka and salted caramel, all adorned with whipped cream, popcorn and more chocolate.
From there, head in any direction to encounter 80 or so games ranging from old favourites such as skee-ball, to Mario Bro’s and Space Invaders XL. There’s a shooting gallery, a vintage ropes course and a vast laser-tag arena – a dimly lit maze brimming with obstacles, including gigantic tarantulas.
Archie Brothers has four state-of-the-art virtual reality sets – the only ones of their kind in Australia. The ride combines a headset, physical movement, wind, a spring-loaded platform and live sound to trick participants into feeling like they’re experiencing something mildly dangerous, such as a sudden loop-the-loop on a high-speed rollercoaster, or an unforeseen zombie attack. You can take a desert motorbike trip, do a ski jump or ride a “swing” over a city. “It’s really escapist,” says Schreiber.
In a throwback to the original use of the space as a dodgem-car arena, guests can zip about in cars that have been restored to their former glory. There’s also a bowling alley with velvet lounges and an electronic backdrop that projects elephants; bearded and tattooed ladies; freak shows; bald eagles; and various other circus paraphernalia.
The pricing is simple. You buy a personal, rechargeable game card on arrival, which can be used to play games or purchase food and drink at the bar. The venue is all-ages during the day, but from 8pm it’s strictly adults only.
Archie Brothers Electric Circus
55 Doody Street, Alexandria
1300 888 386
Mon to Fri 10am–12am
Sat & Sun 9am–1am