Barcraft originated as a portmanteau for watching StarCraft at bars. This phenomenon popped up in the spring of 2011 in the United States, with the start of North American Star League. Barcrafts since have spread to hundreds of locations across the world and to other games, such as Street Fighter's "Barfights" and Dota 2's "Pubstomps".
Barcrafts are often attributed to Team Liquid user "primadog", the redditor "o_Oskar" (Glen Bowers), and owner Hyung Chung of the Chao Bistro in Seattle. In May 2011, Glen Bowers, who frequented Chao Bistro, suggested showing Starcraft in the bar. Chung agreed, and Bowers set up the bar's televisions to show the matches, and posted a topic on reddit saying that on May 11, 2011, people could go to Chao to watch that day's North American Star League games while drinking a few beers and enjoying the company of other StarCraft fans. The first event drew a crowd of 150, and Chao has continued hosting the events twice a week.
Since then, the Barcraft phenomenon has grown exponentially under the guidance of Primadog and Lorin "Alystair" Halpert, with Barcrafts in the United States, Canada, Sweden, London, Australia, and many more countries around the world, covering a variety of eSports events.
New initiatives have recently sprouted from the Barcraft trend. Barcrafts have been used to raise money for the charity Child's Play. Additionally, One Nation of Gamers—a network of Barcrafts composed of volunteers—pools all the money they raise to fund online Starcraft tournaments for the community to watch.
With the success and popularity of Barcrafts, bars calling themselves "eSports Bars" have arisen. These bars are similar to the traditional sports bars, but instead of broadcasting sports like football and soccer, they broadcast a variety of eSports games instead and serve specialty gaming themed drinks. Many of these bars also have computers set up to allow customers to play games with each other, and often host in house tournaments as well. A notable example of an eSports bar is Meltdown, a new chain of bars with branches in Paris, Berlin and London.
- r/starcraft - Watch Professional StarCraft at a Bar this Wednesday (May 11) in Seattle
- Efrati, Amir. "Geeks Beat Jocks as Bar Fight Breaks Out Over Control of the TV". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
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- Haddow, Joshua. "Barcraft is What Computer Nerds Do in Pubs". Vice. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
- World of Barcraft
- Barcraft Charity Event
- One Nation of Gamers
- UK's first eSports bar to open in London
- Meltdown: Paris’ First Permanent BarCraft