Videogames flow with the pints at London e-sport pub

The chain of bars was launched in France by gaming enthusiasts 
It’s Saturday night at a busy pub in north London, and the crowd is packed aro-und the bar cheering and shouting at a large screen. It’s not showing sport, but a video game. There is no telltale sign on the grey front of the building, just its name “Meltdown” and the muffled bass of Bob Marley’s “Get up, stand up” which makes the windows vibr-ate gently. But inside this “e-sports” bar is a temple of competitive gaming. Around a table crowded with pints of beer, young people are following a tournament of “League of Legends”, one of the most popular online games. “Go, go for it, come on!” shouts a young woman wearing black stockings, shorts and a striped top, her fingers typing quickly on her phone as she comments on the match on Twitter. Here customers come to have a drink and watch a video game contest as others would play a game of football or rugby. The menu lists a selection of cocktails referencing the virtual world. With its fruity blend of rum, lime, mango, raspberry and passion fruit, the “Shoryuken” takes its na-me from “Street Fighter”, one of the most famous games in history. Meltdown is the only one of its kind in Britain and is an offshoot of a chain of bars launched in France by gaming enthusiasts. The first opened in Paris in 2012. “I realised that there were many players who wanted to leave their homes, have a drink and party,” said Sophia Metz, one of the founders. “Six months later, we opened in Berlin, then in London. Today there are nine bars,” she said, adding that the United States could be next. “E-sports is still a niche market, but it’s a market that’s growing,” said Ms Metz, who views Melt-down as a video game “Starbucks”. Her guests also come to play games themselves. Consoles are available for their use, as well as five workstations equipped with backlit keyboards and ergonomic chairs to avoid back pain. This Saturday, one player in particular is drawing attention: Ilyes Satouri, who goes by the name “Stephano”. Aged 21, he is one of France’s leading e-sports players and has won some $250,000 in just over 80 tournaments of strategy game Starcraft II. E-sports bars “were missing until now. Before, those interested in video games generally stayed at home,” said the curly-haired Mr Satouri. Source: The Asian AgeReference-Image: