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Artisanal cocktails and video games: Inside Toronto’s first eSports bar

The only game in town when it comes to eSports.

The rotating cocktail menu is full of artisanal twists on old favourites, with names that are nods to video game hallmarks like ‘Leeeerooyyy Jenkins!’ and ‘Khala’s Embrace’.

Liz Beddall/Metro

The rotating cocktail menu is full of artisanal twists on old favourites, with names that are nods to video game hallmarks like ‘Leeeerooyyy Jenkins!’ and ‘Khala’s Embrace’.

Finally, Toronto’s night life has got some game.

Good Game, that is: the city’s first and so far only eSports bar.

Located at 2097 Yonge St., just south of Eglinton, the joystick gin mill has a simple formula: combine a rapidly growing fan appetite for competitive gaming, a social atmosphere, and local libations.

Call it control+alt+replete.

Kabargine made a recent appearance on Metro's eSports podcast, Scrub League:

Good Game is like any traditional sports bar – TVs, barstools and booze. The difference?  Whether the Blue Jays are top of the division or it’s the UEFA Euro finals, “we’re still going to be here showcasing eSports,” said owner and director Pavel Kabargine in an interview with Metro.

Forget the Raptors, the Leafs or TFC; think Overwatch, League of Legends and StarCraft.

Behind the ornate wooden bar you’ll find custom-made birch taps that pour only Canadian craft beer. The rotating cocktail menu is full of artisanal twists on old favourites, with names that are nods to video game hallmarks like ‘Leeeerooyyy Jenkins!’ and ‘Khala’s Embrace’.  

Upstairs you’ll find a small bar, couches, TVs and PCs loaded with the current roster of popular eSports. “If you know you’re a gamer, and you want to meet up with other gamers this is the place for you,” said Kabargine.

Try pairing themed cocktails with the games they're named for.

Liz Beddall/Metro News

Try pairing themed cocktails with the games they're named for.

But if Candy Crush is more your speed, don’t sweat it.

“We’ve made the downstairs completely neutral – a cool environment where you’d like to be, and not necessarily for the video game aspect,” Kabargine said.

The upstairs lounge at Good Game features a row of gaming PCs.

Liz Beddall/Metro

The upstairs lounge at Good Game features a row of gaming PCs.

“You could be absolutely anybody, come in from the street, stare at the screen, listen to the commentary and you’re going to get it.”

What are eSports, anyway?

Good Game owner Pavel Kabargine wants his bar to be accessible to anyone who enjoys video games.

Liz Beddall/Metro

Good Game owner Pavel Kabargine wants his bar to be accessible to anyone who enjoys video games.

Put simply, eSports are: “competitive video games at the professional level.”

A $463 million a year industry in 2016, competitive gaming is a rapidly rising tide in the entertainment world. Tournaments sell out sports stadiums, prize pools are in the millions and online viewership hits hundreds of millions around the world.

You can find little nods to video games past and present at Good Game.

Liz Beddall/Metro

You can find little nods to video games past and present at Good Game.

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