Arcade games and neon lights: NQ64 Cardiff review

If you think back to the end of the summer you’ll remember this post, from when I visited Manchester and a few bars there. One that really stood out was NQ64. So you can imagine my joy when I found out that they were going to be opening a venue right on my doorstep, in Cardiff.

Naturally, then, it made sense for me to visit as soon as I got the chance to visit before the official opening as games testers, which just so happened to be on my boyfriend’s birthday on the 2nd November.

Arcade games, cocktails (and beer) and a striking neon-lit interior, what more could a man want for his birthday? And I desperately wanted to visit ASAP too, so it all worked towards a perfect birthday evening.

Anyway, we arrived at NQ64, which is located on St Mary Street, not too far from Cardiff Central Station, and headed straight to the bar for some drinks. When we visited the Manchester venue, I stuck to Hooch, as I found the games far more enticing than the cocktails, so I decided to give a couple of cocktails a chance. Fraser had the Grape Escape and a Mad Max, while I went for a Blanka and a Galaga, all of which were super delicious. This was a bit of a surprise, as I figured that because the main attraction of the bar is the games, the cocktails wouldn’t be as tasty as more drink-focused bars, but I was definitely mistaken.

Drinks in hand, it was time to explore the wide variety of arcade games on offer. From driving games to shooting games, and of course a dance game, there’s definitely something for everyone. As before, I couldn’t resist throwing a fair few tokens at Time Crisis 2, but I tried to try out as many different games a possible this time, and enjoyed them all.

We also spent a bit of time admiring the decor, as the interior of NQ64 is pretty striking. A lot of neon lighting with part of a mural on every inch of wall, there’s a lot to catch your eye. The lighting is a little difficult for taking good photos, but really that just suggests it’s a “you’ll have to see it for yourself” affair. Which is fine, because I’d definitely recommend seeing it for yourself.

Another fun feature, which may have just been around for the first couple of opening days were some neon Sharpies available to write on the tables with. I definitely had a little too much fun scribbling on the tables as if they were desks at school (just kidding, I was too much of a goody-two-shoes to draw on school property). And last, but not least, we ended the evening playing on the free consoles, getting slightly irate at Mario Kart.

All in all, I am a huge fan of the concept of an arcade bar and a huge fan of NQ64 in particular. I am definitely going to be adding it to my list of places that I like to visit regularly and would recommend that if you get the chance, you should definitely pop in for a beverage and a quick game (or two, or three, or even four, but probably you’ll end up playing more).

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