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All luck is good luck at Bad Luck game bar

With a monkey motif, a karaoke lounge, a multinational menu and arcade games that reflect both the modern and nostalgic, new downtown bar Bad Luck was designed to be fun for everyone

Good luck has been a rare commodity for people in the bar and restaurant business over the past couple years and that was a deciding factor for the group of guys who were picking a name for the new games bar, that just opened on the second floor above the La Reina downtown.  

True to form, their final choice, Bad Luck, was the luck of the draw.

“We put six names into a hat, and this was the winner,” said manager Bryan Steele. “When you have four strong minds picking names you’ve got to have a bunch in the hat, and this is what we decided on.”

It seemed a fitting way to turn the tables on, and raise a defiant middle finger to, COVID while having a bit of fun with the whole concept.

“It’s got an edge to it especially when you are playing games,” said owner Conrad Aikens. “My joke when people ask about the name is that everyone knows it’s bad luck to open a bar during a pandemic.”

Jokes aside, Bad Luck, was designed with fun in mind from the monkey-themed wallpaper and chandeliers to the karaoke lounge and games arcade that features a variety of vintage and new sports and video games.

“There are some cool games that, no question, guys are going to come here for like The Golden T, Buck Hunter, basketball, DDR (arcade driving simulator), ping pong and Skee Ball,” said Steele. “A second-floor bar is always a bit tricky to draw people into. We are trying to go with that alleyway feel and then the second you walk through the first tunnel on the second floor, we are trying to blow people away with all the different finishes.”

Every feature from the authentic neon bar signs, the psychedelic fabric on the booth benches and the bar and tabletops made from the floors of bowling and shuffleboard lanes were hand-picked to create the impression a group of teenage boys got together to create a cool place to meet girls.  

“It is funny that you say that because it was four guys planning it for the ladies,” said Steele. “We know how much ladies love social media. They like those areas where they can post those profile photos.”

One of those popular features is the selfie mirror at the entrance to the women’s washroom.

“You hear screaming and laughter the second a group of girls walk in there,” said Steele. “We couldn’t be happier with the way that one turned out.”

Of course, the biggest appeal of Bad Luck, for guys and gals alike, is the opportunity to escape for a while and have fun whether they’re kicking butt at foosball, bustin’ a move to the Dance Dance Revolution Mega Mix or belting out their favourite ballad in the karaoke lounge.  

“It’s a good place to come, let’s say if you are on a first date or something like that,” said Aikens.  “What’s a better icebreaker than playing some games instead of sitting there staring at each other trying to make conversation.”

Even the food is prepared to be shared.

“We haven’t seen many small sharable style menus in town so, we decided to go with the snack bar kind of tapas style,” said Steele. “It is food from every corner of the world. A little bit of food, some finely crafted cocktails and some games. A little bit of something for everyone.”

Bad Luck officially opened Dec 16 and despite the wrath of Omicron and the fun-killing pandemic protocols, the bar has been packed to capacity every night it has been open.

“The response so far has been amazing,” said Steele. “We’ve had people say this is the kind of bar that Guelph needs. When we reopen with no restrictions it will be Thursday to Sunday from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m. The kitchen will be open and there will be snacks available.  Come in, check the place out and have a little bit of fun.”