Good Game is an eSports bar just south of Yonge and Eglinton . Mashing up cocktails, craft beer and esports, it's basically a social club for gaming enthusiasts.
I visited Good Game late on a Friday night. As someone whose last gaming experience involved finally beating Lion King on Sega Game Gear roughly ten years after Game Gears were discontinued, I was excited to see how the world of gaming had changed after my victorious exit.
The bar is two floors, with the social area on the first level and the gaming area upstairs. Downstairs, the space is long and narrow with tables and chairs at the front, the bar in the middle, and more seating options at the back.
Big screen televisions line the walls, displaying Twitch streams of gamers from across the world slaying enemies of various sorts, and a big neon sign with the name of the bar sits above the TVs at the entrance.
With chalkboard menus and floating shelves with jars and liquor bottles, it really does look like an upscale cocktail bar at first glance, until you notice the jars are flanked by video game boxes, and all the cocktails listed are various catchphrases and gaming references, and instead of ignoring you because you're not contributing to the discussion of Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defence , other patrons are ignoring you because you're talking through the sick Defense of the Ancients stream on the TV.
Upstairs, the space is totally different. While there are still elements of the cocktail bar (tables, chairs, TVs), the second level holds the gaming lair. There are five custom-built PCs set up complete with noise-cancelling headphones, ergonomic chairs, and plenty of room for groupies to crowd around and fawn over the dreamy Draenor Masters.
It's $5 an hour ($7 on Friday and Saturday) to use the PCs, and Good Game plans to start up tournaments in the near future.
After spending a few minutes upstairs watching someone play Hearthstone with the beautiful, deft hands of of a concert pianist and the calculated, methodical eyes of the night shift security guard at the Queen and Spadina McDonald's, I needed a drink.
Good Game's beer menu is painstakingly curated, with only Ontario craft beers on tap. Their cocktail menu is even better. Each cocktail is carefully concocted and named using a gaming reference, like This is Jimmy or Well Met .
I had the Leeeerrrooyy Jenkins ($12), a special drink named after a character from WoW who famously went rogue and charged into a fire-filled dungeon.
The drink features Ukranian vodka with honey and pepper to embody the feel of the fiery dungeon, grenadine syrup to embody the look of the fiasco, and is incredibly strong and immediately intoxicating to embody the concept of making a rogue decision and forcing other people to pick up the pieces. It was terrific.
As the night went on, I could see that the concept-driven cocktails were just the beginning of the ideas put into play at Good Game. Of note is the decision to play streams of less complicated games on weekdays because patrons are burnt out from work to the uniforms. Smart.
There's also a play on referee stripes with a reference to a Dragon Ball Z meme on the back. In fact, it's clear that all of the decisions at Good Game are carefully considered, a nice change from some bars where the decision-making seems to be whatever sounds good when you're drunk.
Although Good Game has technically already succeeded by doing the impossible (combining socializing, upscale cocktails, and role-playing games), the great drinks, cool vibes, and great execution make Good Game a most welcome surprise.