Where everybody knows your game

Marketplace Contributor May 26, 2015
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Where everybody knows your game

Marketplace Contributor May 26, 2015
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Geek culture is having a bit of a moment. Superheroes are smashing box office records. Comic conventions have become national news. Now, gamers are getting their very own bars. A new pub in Savannah, Georgia is offering a place to throw back a few drinks while you battle it out in video or board games.

Walking into the Chromatic Dragon feels like entering most bars — at first. You decide if you want to sit at the bar or get a table; inside or out. A friendly employee approaches, but he’s not a server. He’s a “game master.”

“Are there any board games or card games you guys would like to enjoy while you enjoy your food tonight?” he asks.

On the tables, cards and dice are spread out between plates of food and drinks. Flat-screen TVs with access to XBOX 360, PlayStation 3, and the latest Wii line one of the walls. On the first of several couches, two young guys are engaged in a fierce Mortal Kombat battle. One of them, Patrick Gardner, wears a black t-shirt that says, simply, “KOMBAT.”

Gardner says playing here is more fun than at home. He has his own gaming systems, he says, “but meeting new people is like a new experience.”

In just one month, 153 people pledged almost $21,000 on Kickstarter to help the bar open.

Owner and lifetime gamer Clegg Ivey says all of this socializing is part of the appeal, despite the misconception that gaming is a solitary activity. “But really, it’s not,” he says.

“Anybody who’s ever hung out at somebody’s place with a Nintendo sitting on the table, everyone’s taking turns. Or we’re playing, say, ‘Mario Kart’ where there might be four or five people all racing at the same time, and it’s a great way to connect with other people,” says Ivey.

Gamer pubs like this one are opening in a handful of cities. Ivey says someday he’d like to see gaming bars as popular as sports bars — where each one is a hub for a different game the way many sports bars favor a certain sport or team. For now though, Savannah’s gamers have just the one pub for just about any game.

“This is ‘Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre!’” Colorado Brown announces in his best wizard voice. He says he’s been looking forward to gaming here for a simple reason:

“I love board games, I love video games, and I love booze and good food.”And now, he can find all that in one place.

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