Consoles and cocktails: video game bar opens in Saskatoon

It's like an arcade for grown-ups. A new form of entertainment has come to Saskatoon that lets you play Mortal Kombat with a pint in your hand.

David Mah opens dream business on 20th Street

David Mah, owner of video game bar Bartari in Saskatoon. (CBC)

It's an arcade for grown-ups. A new form of entertainment has come to Saskatoon that lets you play Mortal Kombat with a pint by your side.

David Mah is the owner of the new bar on 20th Street West, called Bartari. A generation of people who grew up playing on Atari or other old-school video game systems will feel nostalgic.

Patrons can play old-school console games at their own table. (Devin Heroux/CBC)

"So we pretty much have every retro gaming system ever made. We do have some physical consoles as well with a nice selection of physical games," Mah said. "If they want the real experience we can provide that as well."

There are a couple of pinball machines, as well as several tables with personal gaming consoles such as Nintendo, Super Nintendo, PlayStation and Xbox. There is a lounge at the back where people can sit around comfy chairs and a sofa as they play. 

One of the video games you can play at the new bar on 20th Street in Saskatoon. (Devin Heroux/CBC)

Mah said the idea of a video game bar came to him a decade ago. He used to do a lot of international travel for martial arts tournaments and found video game bars in other places. He has invested $60,000 so far and feels confident the business will succeed. 

At the beginning of the night, patrons pay $5 which gives them unlimited access to all the games. Mah also has a computer program that essentially allows him to download every game created for the traditional gaming systems which means there are roughly 3,000 games to choose from. 

"We did the best we could," Mah said. "You're never going to make everybody happy but we have a little bit of everything for everyone. Now what we're going to do is every week five per cent of our sales goes towards upgrading our library and it won't take long to build up a giant library."

Mah said he also wants the bar to be known for its cocktails. His brother, a mixologist in Vancouver, helped design the drink menu. 

Megan Cawkwell, Gregory Fehr, and Cody Fisher play video games at a new establishment in Saskatoon. (CBC)

​"It's amazing just watching people sitting at the bar and do something different other than watching sports," Mah said. "They just get into the games and before you know, two beers later and a poutine they're happy."

"I was excited, I like video games," Fehr said when he heard about a video game bar in Saskatoon. His favourite system growing up was the Nintendo 64.

Patron Megan Cawkwell said she was excited to see Donkey Kong on the list of games available. 

Cody Fisher said, "It's my favourite place so far." 

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled Bartari.
    Nov 27, 2015 9:35 AM CT

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