In the trendy Didsbury Village, a new activity bar has popped up, promising to satisfy your nostalgia craving. 1UP is the newest games bar in Manchester, offering over 50 entry-level boardgames, as well as spaces created for Warhammer figure painting, Pokémon and Magic the Gathering card playing and D&D campaigns.
1UP aims to be completely unique from the existing games bars in Manchester, with experiences on offer such as an 8-man D&D table, e-sports tournaments and gaming days, as well as staged comedy, live music and quiz nights. The bar and restaurant features entertaining nods to the gaming world like an 8ft Donkey Kong poised and ready to strike you down with a barrel as you enter, toilets decorated with Tetris-style blocks falling around you, Portal infinity mirrors, a Fallout emergency apocalypse fund collection box, and a Pac-Man/Tetris-inspired beer garden.
Explaining the inception of the bar, co-founder George said: “1UP, ultimately, was to be a gaming bar created to encourage people like us to socialise and game together, but much more than that, it was to be a haven for people with an interest in all aspects of gaming culture to come and share in collective enthusiasm for whatever is your poison.
“Our goal from day one was to try to be a half-way house, an introductory/established space catered to people at both an entry level and at a much more advanced level in the gaming community. Consoles, arcades, pinball, boardgames, Dungeons & Dragons, Pokémon cards and a general celebration of the golden age of gaming in the 1970s and 80s to the modern-day platforms was to be our key focus. We wanted to inspire creativity by creating an exciting and comfortable space to be yourself in whatever interest you have; filled with little nuggets of game geek culture.”
The focus on sustainability at 1UP is also a pretty unique element to have where gaming is concerned. Most things left on the previous site that were able to be reused were repurposed, with founders George and Luke getting stuck in on the practical aspects themselves.
Luke explains: “Our custom-built game wall art, for a large part, is made entirely out of old covid Perspex screening, as well as the main venue signage. The Fallout wall/booths/stage/D&D table have all been made using scrap wood, old pallets and used scaffolding taken from a stockpile we’ve built up over the past year. For the most part, second-hand materials are a key to making this site what it is.”
So, next time you’re at a loss of what to do in Manchester, how about a game of pinball over a pint?
1UP is now open and you can visit them at 655-657 Wilmslow Rd, Didsbury, Manchester, M20 6RA.