You can turn waiting at a bar into an authentic game experience!
Hidden away within a café called ‘Madd’ on Rupert Street, Soho (just off Shaftesbury Avenue) in London, Loading isn’t quite a regular bar and it’s not a pub either, it’s almost like a public club where enthusiasts can get together and chill, and it’s awesome.
Within the bar there’s a bunch of seats, each focused around a small gaming area. There’s some glass tables with tero games playable on a screen underneath (in an innovative two player where the screen flips to face the person who’s turn it is when you’re playing gems like Pac-Man and Space Invaders, or there’s a couple of Xbox 360s, a Super Nintendo and a Wii U. The consoles are free to play on and it was a delight to go down there on a Saturday lunch-time and see not only other gamers but groups playing D&D style things and a family showing their younger children the Super Nintendo games. It’s great having a whole new generation getting into the original Mario Kart and loving every minute of it.
On top of this there’s a wide selection of ‘proper’ board games like Catan, Ticket to Ride and more behind the bar to set out on one of the fairly spacious tabletops to have a go, as well as a basement area with some classic arcade machines.
While we’ve covered Meltdown on Caledonian Road a few times, this is a different kind of place altogether. Meltdown is a place to go watch e-sports with your friends and maybe get involved in a tournament, it’s focused on competition and drinking. Loading is more chilled, it’s more of a place to come and be where you can enjoy games and the company of other enthusiasts. The menu was filled with gaming-related cocktails and the prices are more than reasonable for generous servings in Central London.
We were impressed with Loading and will definitely be back over the next few weeks, it’s got such a happy and positive atmosphere without any of the stigma that can go along with gaming, it’s not dark or dingy, it’s bright and colourful with a real sense of energy even in the middle of the day. It’s also very close to some of London’s finest gaming locations like Forbidden Planet (on Shaftesbury Avenue) and Orc’s Nest on Earlham Street.
If you’re in the area, pop on by or check out their website (complete with lists of events and their snazzy drinks menu at http://loadingonline.co.uk/