GG EZ is Australia’s first dedicated esports bar and it opens tomorrow. Months of work by the team behind the bar are about to pay off when doors open to the public at 5pm. As it’s opening night, a special celebration will be held until late and the first 300 people through the door will receive a limited edition GG EZ pin.
Those first in will also get a complimentary taste test of both GG EZ’s alcoholic bubble teas and the Korean/Californian fusion snacks on offer. PowerUp! was invited to a special early preview of the bar and from all accounts, GG EZ is going to be a smash hit.
Welcome to GG EZ
Remove from your mind any ideas you have about videogame bars. Gone are the sticky floors, dingy dives and grimy controllers. GG EZ is sleek, and slick and shiny. It’s a bar first, but esports is a huge focus.
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As you descend the stairs into the basement bar you’re greeted by a bright neon sign, blazing the GG EZ logo. It’s inviting and hip. It doesn’t feel like something you’d see at any of the videogame bars you’ve ever been to. It feels like the sign of a bar that wants you to know that you’re in a place you belong.
As the stairwell expands out into the basement and you get your first proper look at GG EZ, you’ll be surprised at just how modern and clean it all is. The angular bar in the centre of the room is the focal point with plenty of seats for punters to grab.
The bar is fully stocked with old standards and favourites you’d expect, plus there’s Coors on tap. It couldn’t be a sports bar without it. At the bar is where you’ll get to try the delicious bubble teas. The EZ Cup was my favourite. A fruity and decidedly alcoholic drink, filled with jelly and fruit filled pearls.
At the bar is where you’ll get to try the delicious bubble teas. The EZ Cup was my favourite. A fruity and decidedly alcoholic drink, filled with jelly and fruit filled pearls. There’s also the eSpresso Cup for those who need a pick me up. It’s got both Red Bull and coffee.
Beside the bar is an enormous mural of Overwatch’s esports icon, D.Va. Perfectly suited to the bar, D.Va is South Korean, a StarCraft champion and part of one of the fastest growing esports in the world, Overwatch. It doesn’t hurt that the mural looks incredible too.
A sports bar for esports
Pressing further into GG EZ, you reach the far end. Home to several enormous television screens, the kitchen and a number of tables and chairs, this is where you come to eat Korean fried chicken tacos, sink some beers and watch your favourite esports with your mates.
It’s the perfect atmosphere to do just that. The main screen is big and bright and will feature the special event of the day. The other screens will show other events and on the day I attended there was Overwatch, CS:GO, MtG, Hearthstone and StarCraft.
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Even as the bar began to fill with people, the sounds of the games were still easily heard. The atmosphere was excellent and there was a real feeling of people coming together to enjoy something in the open. Up until now, watching esports usually involved sitting up along until the wee hours. GG EZ aims to change that.
The liquor license is very generous and the bar will generally open from 5pm until late. Not only will GG EZ show esports, it will aim to be a community hub, hosting events, meetups and more throughout the year.
Meet the makers
The talent behind GG EZ is world class. Lachlan McAllister is known for his involvement in Mr Wow’s Emporium, Los Barbudos and Lily Black’s in Melbourne. Watching him behind the bar, interacting with customers, making drinks and enjoying himself, it’s clear that GG EZ is a labour of love.
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McAllister’s goal with GG EZ was to create a space that could be enjoyed, regardless of your feelings about esports. As far as I can tell, he’s certainly succeeded. By removing the ability to play games in the bar and instead, focusing in esports, GG EZ feels much less like a gimmick. It feels like a place you’d feel comfortable taking your non-gamer friends and it feels like they’d still have a good time.
From my time there, I am definitely convinced that GG EZ is a space that will become integral in esports. It takes it out of the basements and bedrooms of gamers and out into the rest of the world.
GG EZ represents a real opportunity for esports to find new fans and to thrive as a medium all its own.
GG EZ opens tomorrow at 5pm.
It’s located at 93-95 Queen Street, MELBOURNE, Victoria, Australia.
For more information, check the following links;
Main Image credit: Photo by Nicole Reed @nicasa