|Address||420 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley|
|Opened||20 March 2010|
|Closed||24 May 2015|
Mana Bar is the first Australian cocktail bar and video gaming lounge located in Brisbane, Australia within its biggest night-life and entertainment district, Fortitude Valley. The bar held its opening event on 20 March 2010. The bar allows visitors to play current generation gaming consoles free of charge while enjoying video game themed drinks. The bar is open six nights a week from Tuesday to Sunday and often runs special events such as prizes, giveaways, live entertainment and special guests.
The Mana Bar was founded as a collaboration between Guy "Yug" Blomberg, co-creator of Australian Gamer; Pras Moorthy, senior designer at The Creative Assembly; video game critic Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw; and Shay Leighton, creative director of local cocktail bar The Bowery. The current owner and general manager is Cormac Moore.
The idea was first conceived by Australian Gamer co-creator Guy Blomberg, in December 2007 after a house party in which Guy himself noted the successful combination of alcohol and video games made for an excellent social environment. Guy was later joined in this enterprise by Ben "Yahtzee" Crowshaw, Prasant Moorthy and Shay Leighton. After years of planning and several pushed back opening dates, the Mana Bar opened on 20 March 2010. It is also reported that there are only a handful of venues in the world that offer a similar experience. Despite the 50 person capacity of the venue, the opening night saw over 100 line up, with the waiting time for some reported to be up to three hours long.
On 9 August of the same year, it was confirmed that the success of Mana Bar in Brisbane has led to plans to expand to Sydney (no opening dates were mentioned) and Melbourne due to be opened on 16 July 2011. It was also revealed that there were plans to expand internationally, with the owners looking at opening the bar in the United States and Europe.
After a little over two years of operation, the Melbourne bar closed in September 2013, citing low patronage further impacted by restricted trading hours.
On the 19th of May 2015, the owners announced via the bar's Facebook page that the venue would cease trading on Sunday the 24th of May. The owners thanked "everyone [who] made it the sweet ride it was."
Video game industry relations
The Mana Bar has strong ties with the video game industry, and has been used by developers and publishers as a promotional venue where they can preview or launch their games. This has included the launch of Blazblue, the Halo: Reach multiplayer beta, Just Cause 2 and Raskulls all being playable at the venue prior to the official launch of the games, the latter being a preview exclusive to the Mana Bar.
In March 2010, the Legislative Assembly of Queensland released a report into alcohol-related violence, suggesting a connection to violent video games. On 20 April 2010 the Mana Bar responded to the report, stating that there has not been a single violent incident within their present four weeks of operation, and encouraged the Queensland Government to include the Mana Bar in their future studies.
- "Functions and Bookings Packages" (PDF). Retrieved 1 July 2010.
The Mana Bar has a 50 person maximum capacity...
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- Serrels, Mark (5 August 2013). "The Melbourne Mana Bar Is Closing 'For Good'". Kotaku. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
- "Mana Bar will be closing its doors effective this Sunday the 24th of May". 19 May 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
- Toastfarmer20 Mar 2010 (20 March 2010). "What's on at the Mana Bar – PALGN Video Game News – PAL Gaming Network". Palgn.com.au. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
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- "20 April 2010 – Mana Bar responds to Queensland Government Inquiry into Alcohol-Related Violence Report". Retrieved 8 May 2010.