As previously noted on this very blog, I like nothing more on a Saturday than to geek out. Weekdays are far too hectic and filled with non-geek based activities, so when the weekend comes around I like to indulge in some fun, be it a comic con or a simple toy hunt around the city.
Today seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out something new. That something involved a visit to a recently opened bar in Manchester – NQ64.
Tucked away in a basement on Short Street, behind Affleck’s Palace, NQ64 is a bar-cade – a bar/arcade offering up a mix of classic arcade games, alongside a selection of drinks. From Pac-Man to Street Fighter II, NQ64 is filled with retro classics and oh boy, it is such a fun place to visit.
As is often the case, I dragged my husband along to keep me company. I can’t speak for him (plus he is of a different age to me), but stepping into NQ64 was like stepping back in time.
As I walked down the basement stairs and into NQ64, I honestly felt like I’d walked into an arcade during the 1990s. Hip-hop music filled the room, neon lights were king, and many of the leading games of the decade were laid out before me – the likes of which included X-Men, The Simpsons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Golden Axe, Double Dragon and RoboCop, amongst others.
But it wasn’t just arcade games that caught my attention, NQ64 also boasted a number of retro games consoles, as well as three different pinball machines. This was clearly a place where fun could be had.
After a quick trip to the bar, we picked up some tokens. All of the machines required tokens, so stocking up was a necessity.
I believe the tokens could be purchased in a couple of different denominations, but we opted for 15 tokens for £5 – a pretty reasonable deal. This would give us the opportunity to try out a number of different machines, or hit up the same cabinet for multiple games.
First stop – X-Men!
This machine was set up to allow for ENDLESS lives, so we played the heck out of the game until we completed it. We utilised every mutant in the X-Men arsenal, from Dazzler and Storm to Cyclops, Colossus, Wolverine and Nightcrawler and arguably used up more lives than was really necessary.
We then moved onto The Simpsons, Street Fighter II, Spider-Man pinball and The House of the Dead. I also briefly hopped on a Just Dance machine – but the less said about my dance co-ordination, the better.
Overall, we probably spent around an hour in NQ64, but it was an hour filled with gaming and I LOVED it. Had we stayed longer, we would have filled up on more tokens and we would have hit up the bar for a couple of drinks.
As well as a selection of beers and soft drinks, the NQ64 bar boasted a collection of gaming themed cocktails. Choices included the Princess Peach, the Mario, the E.Tini and various others.
As I didn’t try out any of these cocktails, I am unable to offer up any comments, but I WILL try some out next time. And yes, there will be a next time.
For retro gamers, NQ64 is such a fun place to hang out on a Saturday afternoon – especially in Manchester, where it tends to rain a lot. It’s not a huge basement, but it crams in a lot of games.
Today was a test run to see what the bar was like. Hopefully, in the not too distant future I’ll make a return visit as part of another geek-filled Saturday. I’d like to take another crack at The Simpsons, plus there were a number of games I simply didn’t get chance to play.
NQ64 is open Monday to Sunday, from 4pm on weekdays and 12pm on weekends. The bar-cade is for over 18s only, so just bare this in mind if you’re planning a visit (which you should).