Tokyo’s Akihabara district is losing two landmarks this month, but it’s not all bad news for the neighborhood. The newest member of the neighborhood is Tokyo Video Gamers, which differentiates itself from other gaming destinations in Akiba by also being a full bar and restaurant.
Located under the railroad tracks just a block away from Akihabara Station, Tokyo Video Gamers is different from other “beercades” in a couple of key ways. First, it’s not just a bar that the owners stuffed a couple of arcade machines in, or an arcade with a mini fridge stocked with a half-dozen cans of beer. It’s a legitimate bar/cafe with a large menu, and the management has the official blessing of all the game companies whose games are available to play.
That level of cooperation means that Tokyo Video Gamers can offer special services like collaboration cocktails (including a non-alcoholic choice) served in glasses and on coasters boasting art from some of gaming’s biggest pioneers, including Sega and SNK.
▼ In keeping with Japanese themed-restaurant norms, the coasters are yours to take home.
▼ SNK coasters, for Samurai Shodown, Fatal Fury, The King of Fighters, Art of Fighting, and Metal Slug
▼ Sega, represented by the Mega Drive (a.k.a. Genesis), Space Harrier, Fantasy Zone, Golden Axe, and Altered Beast
But what’s perhaps the coolest thing about Tokyo Video Gamers is its game pricing policy: they’re free to play as long as you order something from the menu. The staff is even happy to go a couple rounds against you on one of the bar’s fighting games if you’re craving competition with a human opponent but no other customers happen to be playing your title of choice at the moment.
Also, if you set the high score on their Space Invaders machine during the currently ongoing promotion, you get a free drink.
Though Tokyo Video Gamers expects most of its customers to stop by in the evening, it also offers extremely reasonably priced lunch sets for just 500 yen, which, of course, also lets you play games for free before heading back to the office or wherever else you need to be later in the day.
The complete menu includes simple favorites like French fries and takoyaki octopus dumplings, as well as fancier-sounding things like vongole bianco pasta and smoked fugu (blowfish). The beverage menu has more options than even the heaviest drinker could exhaust in a night, ranging from beer and several kinds of shochu sour cocktails to whiskeys and Japanese sake.
There’s also an attached gift shop selling various video game-inspired merch, including the glasses the special cocktails come in.
Tokyo Video Gamers’ grand opening was Aug 21, and while it’s never easy picking just one place to eat out of all the unique dining options Akihabara has, this is one problem we’re happy just got a little tougher still.
Tokyo Video Gamers
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Kanda Neribeicho 13-1 Soto, Seekbase 1-9
Open 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Sources: Tokyo Video Gamers, PR Times, 4Gamer via Otakomu
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