Bars can be a great place to socialize and hang out with people during downtime. In games, bars can be a great social hub to gather with other player characters, or simply meet some cool NPCs. On that note, we want to discuss some of our favorite bars in video games.
Question: What is your favorite video game bar?
Harth Stonebrew's Tavern (Hearthstone) - Ozzie Mejia, The Tavern's Always Open
As if the Hearthstone enthusiast wasn't going to pick the finest tavern in all of Azeroth. I've always enjoyed Hearthstone's motif in which every session takes place inside Harth Stonebrew's Tavern. It seems like such a welcoming atmosphere, one that was beautifully illustrated by the animated short embedded above, which debuted prior to the 2017 Hearthstone World Championships.
It also helps that Blizzard would go out of its way to decorate a portion of every BlizzCon to look like the Tavern, right down to the hearty refreshments. It makes you want to sit a while and relax.
The Rusty Nail (Fist of the North Star: Paradise Lost) - TJ Denzer, enjoys a good cocktail
I do love some good drinks, and I particularly like things I haven’t tried before or which are made with some exceptional talent. There are a lot of good bars and bartenders in video games, but only one of them has ever employed the legendary Kenshiro, the successor of the Hokuto Shinken style of martial arts. That’s The Rusty Nail bar in Fist of the North Star: Paradise Lost: the one time that Yakuza developer Ryu ga Gotoku Studio did a First of the North Star game.
Kenshiro is a martial artist nearly without peer. His moves are brutal, yet precise… built to kill, disable, or even heal as he wills it. It turns out those same moves make Kenshiro an impeccable bartender. Throughout Paradise Lost, you can engage in a mini-game in which Kenshiro crafts ever more complex cocktails for his guests. If I really wanted to enjoy something and chill, I might go for a Duel on the Beach. If I needed a pick-me-up, I would go after his Bloodstained Mary. If it was an extremely special or solemn occasion, I might even go for a Yuria Eternal.
Either way, with Kenshiro’s extremely well-trained hands mixing the cocktail, I know it’s going to be precisely what I ask for with otherworldly quality. Excuse my sloppy Japanese, but omae wa mō yotteru: You are already drunk.
The Gates of Hell (Bayonetta Series) - Blake Morse, Dive Bar Connoisseur
If there’s one thing San Francisco has an abundance of, it’s goth clubs. And I spent many a night in my formative years drinking and dancing to spooky new wave and industrial music at a number of them. However, none of them have the class and spooky air of mystery that Rodin’s Gates of Hell has. Not only can Rodin mix you up a tasty beverage complete with a cherry on top, but he can also hook you up with weapons imbued with demonic energy powerful enough to murder angels! If all that wasn’t enough, Bayonetta hangs out there, and I would not mind buying her a drink at all.
The Captain’s Head, Golden Sands Outpost - Sam Chandler, What do you do with a drunken sailor?
By far my favorite bar is the Captain’s Head at Golden Sands Outpost in Sea of Thieves. With outdoor tables offering water-front views, an endless supply of grog, and plenty of fellow scallywags to share a tale with, there’s no greater place to unwind. The caribbean-themed outpost is the ideal spot to down a few frothies with the boys on a Friday night and then jump on a ship to see what trouble and mischief you can get into.
Smithfield’s Saloon in RDR2 - Bill Lavoy, Resident of Big Valley
This was a tough one for me, as I take my bars in video games very seriously. I almost went with the Third Rail in Fallout 4, the Kingfisher in The Witcher 3, and the Afterlife in Cyberpunk. Each are places I remember well from my time in those games, and are worthy of being my pick.
What sets Smithfield’s Saloon apart are the memories you create as Arthur Morgan when you visit the saloon. There’s the unforgettable mission A Quiet Time with Lenny, and even the bar fight where Arthur gets tossed through a window. I’ve spent several in-game days playing poker at Smithfield’s, watching the sun come up, go down, come up, and go down again. I’ve helped to bring a serial killer prostitute to justice, then set her free on whim days later. Smithfield’s is also where I go to get my haircut in Red Dead Redemption 2. It’s the saloon that keeps on giving.
Stray Sheep in Catherine: Full Body - Dennis White Jr., Cocktail co-pilot
Catherine has a pretty unique vibe and that definitely applies to the bar where Vincent and his friends spend the majority of their time in. I do love a comfy booth. The soundtrack is great and you can change the song playing at the jukebox when you unlock more songs with your achievements. There are also some nice knick knacks and easter eggs like a stuffed Morgana from the Persona series. I’d chill here if I could!
The Afterlife in Cyberpunk 2077 - Donovan Erskine, Ripperdoc
The Afterlife is one of those places that feels like an authentic bar filled with living, breathing, people. When I step through those doors, I don’t feel like the protagonist in an RPG, I feel like another wanderer amongst the crowd of fascinating creatures that define Night City. I also love how The Afterlife is used in the story, with V going there to rendezvous with other characters and gather intel. It’s the kind of bar you’d see in a sci-fi movie and you wish you could walk around and explore for yourself.
Milk Bar: Latte (LoZ: Majora’s Mask) - Steve Tyminski, Drunk with power!
Picking my favorite video game bar seems like an odd thing for me to do, as I have never really thought about it before. There are a few ways I could go with this. I could go with a game that I played at PAX East a few years ago that’s all about bartending. N1RV Ann-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action is all about bartending and mixing drinks but that game hasn't been released yet and Ysbryd Games hasn’t said anything about it for a few years now.
That being said, I’ll give my answer and that is going to be the Milk Bar in Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Where else can you get a concert from a Goron, Zora, Deku, and Hylian playing the Ballad of the Wind Fish for a sound test? You can also get some of the finest milk Termina has to offer and that milk does wonders for your magic. They only allow members into the facility and the ID is a cow head mask. It’s a nice relaxing place with a good musical number to go with it. I’m giving honorable mention for every RPG health bar.(see what I did there).
The Gates of Hell (Bayonetta series) - Morgan Shaver, Resident introvert
I second Blake’s mention of The Gates of Hell bar from the Bayonetta series. I genuinely believe that the key to having a great, memorable bar experience is having a great bartender, and Rodin embodies that greatness in spades. Typically when many think of a good bartender they might think of someone who’s extroverted, upbeat, and talkative.
Rodin is more of the quiet type who keeps to himself, and personally, that’s the kind of bartender I’ve always preferred. Someone who’s calm, cool, collected, and knowledgeable. Not to mention, Rodin not only whips up tasty-looking drinks like the colorful cocktail he mixes for Bayonetta at the start of Bayonetta 3, he’s also a badass weaponsmith. I mean c’mon, who wouldn’t want to go to a bar where you can relax, drink, and acquire weapons that'll help you fight angels, demons, and Homunculi?
Those are some of our favorite bars to visit in video games. We're sure you've got a couple that have left a lasting impression on you, so share them with us in the Chatty.
Shack Staff posted a new article, Shack Chat: What is your favorite video game bar?
I ran a bar on a MUD with a player-driven economy ~25 years ago, it was the most successful pub on the mud because it was so easy to get to (west seven times, northwest) - I had to give it up when I became a coder on there though. Maybe doesn't count but that's my favorite.
That or Serena form the Yakuza games.