As videogames become more and more mainstream (hello Pokemon GO), it seems only natural that venues dedicated to the pass time start popping up over the city. Montreal is home to a few adult-only spaces that will quench your thirst for booze and games at the same time. Mimicking the gaming community itself, each of the barcades that call Montreal home cater to different genres: Nexus for the overall enthusiast, Fonzoo for retro fans, Arcade MTL for the cabinet connoisseur and now Meltdown eSports Bar, your venue for competitive gaming.
Girls on Games was graciously invited by the proprietors of Meltdown corporate in France to get a sneak peek at their new Montreal flagship a week prior to their opening on July 30th. As Alicia and I walked up to 2035 St. Denis street, we disused our high hopes for this new eSports inspired watering hole. Both of us have been following the European Meltdown brand for a while, seeing their social media posts online full of events, competitions and PC gaming tech goodies. Though not open to the public, the Meltdown logo was hanging proudly and their front door had a distinct style of industrial grunge, complete with signage teasing their opening date.
Once we crossed the threshold we could tell right off the bat that the atmosphere was going to appeal to many gamers. Though still in the installation phase, Meltdown already has a post-apocalyptic, industrial, seemingly Fallout-inspired design that effectively set the mood. On our right, a bar that was half set for service, and beyond that a PC gamers dream, with Alienware PCs, Logitech peripherals and gaming chairs getting set up for 10 players at a time. Our host, Pierre Violleau, manager of the bar, who was in the midst of painting and prepping tables, invited us into the space and gave us a quick tour. After offering us a cocktail, the three of us discussed the history of Meltdown, why Montreal, and what gamers can expect from a bar dedicated to eSports.
— Meltdown (@meltdownbars) May 31, 2016
Something that is really cool about Montreal is the duality in language. Pierre had recently moved to Montreal from France with the purpose of opening a Meltdown eSports Bar franchise in the city. Ali and I conducted our interview in mixed languages, Pierre being more comfortable in French, myself in mostly English and Ali in a split between the two. It never felt awkward and we always understood one another, but for the purposes of this article, I wanted to note that any quote I might cite was original stated in French.
The first question I had to ask was when bringing Meltdown to North America, why Montreal first? Pierre expressed his original desire to open a Meltdown in his home town of Nantes, France. France already had 16 franchises across the country, multiple in other countries in Europe and after 4 years, its owners were ready to expand to North America. Montreal was a top city on their list and offered it to Pierre. Faith in the brand and passion for the bar business brought Pierre across the North Atlantic, his wife and cats in tow, to break ground on a Meltdown in Montreal.
This is passion…and that’s what we live for ! pic.twitter.com/3fLjwRI83G
— Meltdown (@meltdownbars) March 23, 2016
As we all know, Montreal is a smorgasbord of video game activity. Be it triple-A developers, indie devs, education, conventions, eSports or communities, there is something for everyone with a passion for games in this city. Though its focus on eSports, Pierre says that they plan on catering to many different types of gamers. Alongside the 10 PCs ready for LAN play, there will be XBOX Ones, Wii Us and PS4s available. There is a great spot in the back of the bar that will serve as an awesome Just Dance floor. At the front of the bar, on a mezzanine with a window overlooking St. Denis street will be the prime spot for casting, a space that had peaked Ali’s and my interest. Pierre said that there will be themed nights, opportunities to rent out the bar for events and of course game competitions.
Battle for the glory for your city
Speaking of those competitions, being that there are so many Meltdown franchises in Europe, they have created a sort of friendly rivalry between each bar. City based Meltdown teams compete against each other in many games and Pierre is hoping to form a strong Montreal team.
— Meltdown (@meltdownbars) April 28, 2016
Gonna party till we drop!
Pierre also teased the opening party on July 30th. He mentioned guest shoutcasters and pro gamers being on site along with cosplayers and many folks from the Montreal gaming community. Those hoping to come to the event should arrive early as he expects the venue to be at max capacity.
Ali and I left Metldown eSports Bar on a high, excited to not only see the space but to hear Pierre’s take on what an eSports dedicated bar should be, a place for like-minded people to gather and enjoy competitive gaming together. We raise a glass to Meltdown and cheers to it’s good fortune in our fair city and hope to have many more drinks within it to come.