Ever been out with friends having some drinks at the local drinkery and suddenly get the urge to plant a sticky bomb on your girlfriend or maybe throw a touchdown pass to your buzzed buddy? Well, in most bars that would probably be frowned upon. I know, crazy right? BUT…….what if there was a bar where it wasn’t? We jumped at the chance to sit down and interview Ryan Thauburn – gamer, bartender, wisdom dispenser – and hear all about his Kickstarter campaign for Press Start Bar: a place where happy hours can lead to deathmatches. And we mean that in the coolest way possible. Get ready to Press Start…
*See below for the full audio interview
We’re not exactly sure if the Triforce had anything to do with us coming across bartender guru Ryan Thauburn but nonetheless we’re sure glad we did. When we heard that he wanted to bring the console video game world to the bar world, we knew we needed to meet this fellow gamer / spirit enthusiast.
Working in the service industry for 19 years, Ryan has done just about everything from washing dishes to managing. But for almost his entire life, he’s been a gamer as well…holding every position in the gaming world “from plumber to God of War.” Along with his wife Cynthia and close-friend-extraordinaire Hannah, both of whom have similar backgrounds in service and gaming alike, they found something lacking in the recreation department for their extremely sacred (sometimes scarce) time off from work. Sure they all liked to go somewhere and grab a drink or hang out at home and play video games but they felt that there should be a place they could go to and do both. By talking with family, friends, gamers, and more, they realized they weren’t the only ones. A bar experience with console gaming, not cabinet gaming, was what was lacking here in Houston. Ryan went full-on into brainstorming mode and the possibilities just started coming to him. Possibilities like opening a destination where video gaming was the backbone in the decor, atmosphere, and of course….the drink menu. A place where anyone who stepped through the doors would feel at ease with controller in one hand and a drink in the other. Kind of like Cheers. If Norm had been a plumber….named Mario…..who played XBox.
After going over and over the list of things they had and needed to do, the trio decided to access the power of Kickstarter to help get the project off the ground and into battle mode. Game on!
While the concept of having gaming options at bars has been done before, console gaming is the focal point here. During our interview with Ryan, he expressed that they plan on spanning the video game genre i.e. blending the old and new. From Mario Kart to Halo to Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out to Titanfall, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Gaming areas will include options like “Free 2 Play” casual setups to private booth and/or rooms, should you want to have a fun date night or a get together with your whole squad. Press Start Bar will be the way to go!
But the fun doesn’t just stop at the gaming. Since Press Start Bar is not only from the minds of gamers like you and us but also from experienced bartenders as well, they decided to keep the fun going while you’re ordering drinks as well. Items like Metal Gear Sours and the CI-ROCBand will be sure to quench thirsts in-between those matchmaking sessions or waiting for your next turn. Feeling a little more adventurous? How about trying a Portal shot? We don’t know what’s in them either but if it’s Portal….and a shot….you can count us in!
So you’ve got the games, you’ve got the drinks and you’re having a “Blastacular” time kicking butt. Why not stop and take a look around every once while? You might see that the bar stools have a familiar mushroom pattern design on them. Or what about the sweet retro gaming cartridges and graphics hanging on the wall? Did you hear a familiar “1-UP” sound when you walked through the front doora? And in the restroom…..well maybe it’s just a really nice, clean restroom but you get the idea.
Press Start Bar will be a complete 360° gaming experience that combines the relaxed environment of a great lounge, a creative drink menu, and plenty of gaming options to pick from. Need we say more? We put the call out to you, the Gaming Legion. Donate, whatever you can, and help your fellow nerds / gamers – Ryan, Cindy, and Hannah – get Press Start Bar off of paper and into our reality. We know not everyone is from Houston but you never know……one day you could be walking around your town and see a “COMING SOON: PRESS START BAR” sign and then you could say out loud: “Press Start? Heck yeah I know that place! I helped fund the very first one.”