There’s a lot to like about Netherworld – the video game bar in Brisbane that has a vast amount of games to play, an interesting and tasty selection of beers and great burgers. It’s been on my radar for a while and as I was meeting an old friend who’s just moved to Brisbane, I decided to take her and her kids here. Beers, games and food for adults, games and food for kids – how could this possibly go wrong?
Netherworld in Fortitude Valley has quirky, macabre décor, which reminded me of Milton’s Scratch Bar, which I love. Therefore I wasn’t too surprised when I found out the owners of the Scratch Bar also opened Netherworld.
Inside it looks like an old-school pub – none of this modern décor with loads of TVs. There’s an excellent selection of tap beers (more on that shortly) and I spied a couple of guys playing what looked like an intense game of chess. Evidently, this is a video game bar in Brisbane that’s taken seriously!
I had a chat with a guy at the bar and found out he was in fact James Angliss, the owner, although he introduced himself as ‘Jimmy’. I told James I was snapping a few pics for my blog and he was encouraging, friendly and gave me a few tips on what to eat (more on that later) and drink.
Leaving the bar area, I wandered around the back to a vast corridor of gaming activity. Loads of retro pinball machines, arcade games and consoles. It was also nice to see there were lots of old people like me and even older! There were also lots of young people and people of all description. Netherworld certainly attracts a mixed crowd and it’s one of the things that makes it a video game bar in Brisbane with a difference.
Netherworld also supports Brissie’s local radio station (which I listen to) 4ZZZ, whose office is just a little way down the road. There’s a sign just above the pub entrance which says ‘present your 4ZZZ card for a $ 6 schooner’. Win!
Of course, if you’re a pub of note, you’ve got to have a decent selection of drinks and Netherworld has one of the best beer selections I’ve seen. I’m a beer lover from way back although I was a little overwhelmed with the selection. I asked the bar guy what he would recommend and he gave me a taster of half a dozen beers. Be sure to do that if you’re stuck!
A beer I enjoyed straight up was the ‘Gabriel’ – the red velvet nitro ale which tasted unique but uber pleasant, almost like it had a hint of bubble gum in it. It was smooth, had the kick and base of a 5.8% beer and the sensation of a first-class ale. I’ll be back for this one.
I then tried ‘The Corvis’, which is an ‘oaked blood orange red IPA’. Blood oranges remind me of Seville, so I had to have this one, as I love Spain and I like blood oranges. It was certainly an interesting, tasty drop and I loved the colour of the beers too. The Gabriel was almost neon red while the Corvis was a deep amber colour.
There are loads more drinks here to try, as there’s an extensive ‘tap list’ and plenty of spirits to choose from. The menu also has a cocktail and wine selection and a non-alcoholic drink selection that includes ‘Banquo’s Revenge’ – which has citrus, almond and berries.
Netherworld does casual food such as burgers and chips, salads, bowls – such as mini mac and cheese and bites – fries, cauliflower, vegan nuggets and tofu. One of the best aspects of Netherworld’s food is that it’s vegan by default and if you want meat and dairy, you just add that option to your order. It’s a smart way to cater and it certainly adds to the inclusivity that this video game bar in Brisbane brings.
Keeping in with the theme, the food is named after monsters and places of death and redemption. I asked Jimmy what he would recommend for a man of my taste and he put me onto the Burgatory, which honestly was one of the best burgers I’ve had in a pub! It was super tasty and had some weight to the filling, unlike other burgers I’ve found. This place put Remy’s, my local burger joint in Paddington, to shame! (Sorry Remy’s, I still love you in your own way).
The Burgatory has cheese, crispy onions, pickles, lettuce, tomato, American mustard and ketchup. I totally recommend this one! The fries are your typical shoestring fries and they’re pretty good, although nothing special.
The Games – Video Game Bar in Brisbane
As I’ve mentioned, there’s certainly a vast selection of games at this video game bar in Brisbane. There’s a lot going on here! Take a look at my video at the end of this post to get a better idea. In all, there are 15 pinball machines, 22 arcade games, 6 consoles and loads of board games!
Before we got started, I sat down with my friend and her kids and we caught up over a drink while we waited for our food. We then all played a card game called ‘What Do You Meme’, which is more of an adult game, but as we were playing with teenagers, my friend gave it the A-okay. A picture is displayed in front of everyone and you have a stack of cards with descriptions. You place a card, face down, which you think best describes the card. Players then take turns reading out the descriptions and whoever gets the best description wins. We had fun playing this one.
As for the consoles and board games at Netherworld, they’re free to play, but arcade and pinball machines cost $1 a game. You pay for tokens to play the machines. Jimmy was kind enough to give me a stack of tokens for the purpose of this review. However, I didn’t have the heart to play in front of my friend’s kids so I just gave them the stack, on the proviso that I could film/photograph them.
They played pinball, Daytona USA and a shooting game. I was also intrigued watching a kid play an old version of what looked like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater while his mum watched. Once again, Netherworld is a video game bar in Brisbane that’s super inclusive!
Another thing that caught my eye was the amount of older people gaming. I love that, as I’m a middle-aged dad and there were plenty of guys older than me! There is also a Netherworld High Scores board on display, as evidently, this is a place where folk take their gaming seriously. When I spoke to the owner Jimmy, he had to take off as he was in a pinball game tournament. The tournament had also attracted quite a crowd!
Being a mecca for gaming nerds, Netherworld is a video game bar in Brisbane with plenty of events going on. Some of these are Magic the Gathering nights, a pinball club, Netherworld trivia night, an animation festival and even a family-friendly event called ‘Little Monsters’. I’m not sure what this entails but check out Netherworld’s website for more details.
I’m a gamer myself, as I regularly play on our Nintendo Switch, Xbox and Steam games on my gaming laptop. I also grew up on pinball machines and consoles so I really appreciated what was going on here. The fact that the drinks were interesting, tasty and varied was definitely a bonus. Add to that excellent pub grub that’s aimed at inclusivity and this is definitely one of my favourite pubs in Brisbane.
Actually, I say Netherworld, the Scratch Bar and the Hope and Anchor are my favourite pubs/bars in Brisbane. There’s just none I’ve seen that are better! Additionally, being a video game bar in Brisbane, Netherworld offers a point of difference that makes it stand out. It’s a total winner!
What about you? Do you have a favourite bar in Brisbane that you think tops my list?
A Few Fast Facts
- Kids under 18 are allowed in Netherworld with a guardian until 5pm. After 5pm, it’s strictly 18+ only.
- Netherworld is just a few minute’s walk from Fortitude Valley Station.
- Netherworld is wheelchair friendly. It gets packed though, particularly after 5pm! (Something to keep in mind).
- You can book a table at lunchtime, but otherwise Netherworld is first come best dressed. As I’ve mentioned above, the place gets busy.
- There’s parking nearby. A little tip is that I park on nearby Quarry Street out the front of St Joseph’s College, which is free. It’s a five-minute walk to Netherworld from there.
- As I’ve mentioned, the menu is vegan by default. You can add dairy and meat options and there’s also plenty of gluten-free options on the menu.
- High Scores are recorded at Netherworld!