8-Bit

  • Nightlife
  • Pubs
Critics' pick
13 Beilouguxiang
Gulou-based video game bottle beer bar 8-Bit sets a high score as Beijing's first pints-and-pixels emporium.

If, like us, you spent the majority of your childhood sitting cross-legged and hunched in front of a hulking cathode-ray-tube television squishing the directional pad on a console controller, video game bar 8-Bit will push the right buttons. But does it have replay value?

Summoned, it would seem, by a call of duty to open the city’s first pints-and-pixels emporium, owner/hipster Dale Irons has indeed done Beijing a solid with 8-Bit. It isn’t much bigger than our parents’ walk-in closet, but with classic consoles lining the walls, a rotating selection of games to play and plenty of adult beverages, it makes much better use of the space. Sorry to say it, Mum and Dad, but it’s true.

Skill level isn’t really an issue. If Django Reinhardt can become one of the world’s greatest guitarists with only two working fingers on his left hand, you, no matter how large or small your familiarity with modern games may be, can navigate the side-scrolling world of Super Mario Bros on the NES, beat up the baddies in Streets of Rage 2 for the Mega Drive or blast blocky aliens in Space Invaders. That’s the beauty of old-school gaming: easy to learn, difficult to master.

With tables separated from the on-screen action, a tasteful soundtrack, a nice range of bottles (15-45RMB), and Skittles-infused shots (20RMB), there’s no need to flee for Gulou after one too many game overs. You could even have a date here – the two of you will leave happier than before. If you’ve got no one to romance, drop by for happy-hour beers (20RMB Kirin Draught, 5-8pm daily) and de-stress over a couple of rounds of Street Fighter 2 on the SNES. Enter your initials, 8-Bit. You’ve set a high score.
Venue name: 8-Bit
Contact:
Opening hours: 5pm-late Tues-Sat; 3pm-late Sun
Email: 8bitbeijing@gmail.com
Metro: Nanluoguxiang
English address: 13 Beilouguxiang (off GulouDongDaJie) Dongcheng District
Chinese address: 北锣鼓巷13号

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