Power Up Game Bar
Power Up Game Bar is here to literally change the game in terms of how Toronto thinks about socializing, gaming, and drinking, and how they all harmonize together.
They boast a full menu, a mixologist behind the bar, and a whole room filled with TVs hooked up to PlayStation 4's, Xbox's, and Wii U's that the staff hook you up with as seamlessly as refreshments.
The bar and the hundreds of games downloaded onto each system are designed to be approachable, fun for hardcore gamers and complete noobs alike.
In the same way that bartender Liam King will mix a gin martini for someone who claims they've always hated gin, owner Chris Venutolo can suss out what games tag-alongs might like who have never enjoyed any other recommendations.
The interior below ground at 38 Wellington is modern and retro at the same time, designed by Irfan Bukhari of Bukhari Design Inc.
One area houses the 75" tv screen on which guests can play interactive dance games in an open area and a bar with high seats, and the second room houses the "pods" or booths where groups can play with controllers.
Their drinks complement the games, too. You can grab a Master Chief or any other cocktail for $9, or something like a Dawn's Beauty.
The name for this pretty cocktail comes from the Elder Scrolls series, a realm on one of the planet's in the game. It's made with Stoli Gold, St. Germain, and Galliano all infused with honey and garnished with a large basil leaf.
There's also the Dark Sign, inspired by Dark Souls, notoriously one of the hardest video games.
This is an appropriately hard drink, made with Mount Gay rum, Cenar, raspberry syrup, green chartreuse, and topped with an egg white froth and hickory smoked bitters, garnished with a raspberry.
The Snake Eater is likely the hardest, boldest drink, bourbon-forward with Maker's Mark, Chilean liqueur Ancho Reyes, creme de cacao and Peychaud's bitters.
The food by Tim Cuff and Stu Betteridge (chefs with over forty years of combine experience) is way better than pizza or wings you'd order while gaming at home.
Their gamer's platter ($21) can feed a ton of hungry gamers, including ten I see enthusiastically cram into one booth. It's got grilled lavash bread, caramelized onion dip, gooey risotto balls, hot and mild pepperoni sticks, bocconcini-stuffed peppers, olives and spiced beans.
They also do an ahi tuna poke for $18 served with fried wonton chips with smashed avocado and a little wasabi mayo.
Another great simple option is bacon cheese sliders which are $15 for an order of three, and you can always do truffle popcorn for $6. They also have churro s'mores for dessert for $9.