|Address||420 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley|
|Opened||20 March 2010|
|Owner||Guy "Yug" Blomberg
Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
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 seven nights a week and often runs special events such as prizes, giveaways, live entertainment and special guests.
The Mana Bar is 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 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.
The Melbourne venue celebrated its 2nd birthday in July 2013, but less than three weeks later announced it would be closing its doors as the bar was no longer a viable financial prospect.
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.
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