Best Esports Bar 2020 (The Guide & Toplist)

The modern esports bar concept premiered around the launch of  StarCraft 2,  people desired to find a way to watch events together.

Having a local dedicated bar or restaurant is on track to become as popular as the traditional sports bar.

As the industry grows, companies start their ventures to capitalize on the growing demand for different gaming activities.

What is an esports bar?

While these viewing party-style events started off with Barcraft back in 2010, the future is probably in dedicated bar venues.

The bar owners can focus on building a brand and establish a loyal customer base over time.

We do however find that many event organizers work together with traditional sports bars to bring the concept to a specific venue.

This could be a perfect fit going forward, as different people can invite their already established community.

What is an esports franchise?

The concept of an esports bar can be two things. It could be an event organized on an already established sports bar, it can also be a bar setup from the beginning with esports in mind. 

Click here to read more on how Kappa Bar in Sweden has found success in the esports restaurant space.

Why are bars franchising?

The first esports franchise we have found started back in 2011, thanks to the booming market for the so-called Barcraft’s.

The concept of franchising businesses is certainly not something new and now the esports universe has caught up.

This complete guide for franchises in the esports market is aimed to give you an overview of the concept and the current competition.

How to start an esports franchise

Founding a franchise can be a great way to start your venture into the world of business. This way you can work together with other franchise owners under a common brand.

The specific rules and guidelines you as a location manager need to follow can be found over att respective esports franchise’s website.

So far we believe the competition for esports franchises has only just begun.

Meltdown Bar Franchise

meltdown esports franchise

Meltdown is an esports franchise established in France during the era of StarCraft 2’s prime. The bar franchise has since spread to North America as well as the rest of Europe.

Meltdown now has 32 bar locations under their name. A few are now under construction but most are open for business and enthusiastic gamers can have drinks, play and watch esports events at the highest level.

Kappa Bar Franchise

kappabar esports franchise

Kappa Bar is an esports restaurant and bar chain doing business in Sweden. They have one site in Gothenburg and another one in Stockholm.

Kappa Bar also has a big focus on food. They serve hungry esports enthusiasts meals during long tournaments, effectively making them a restaurant chain.

Barcraft Esport & Geek Bar

barcraft esports franchise

Barcraft Esport & Geek Bar franchise is a Hungarian company based out of Budapest. They currently have 5 open bars around the country.

They have adopted the original term coined almost a decade ago, and have expanded to new locations since they first opened.

What is an esports viewing party

Esports viewing party is a concept where a group of fans gathers at a chosen venue to watch esports together. The venue could be anything from a dorm room to a large cinema establishment.

These viewing parties are the perfect fit for the younger audience, who also want to watch tournaments together but may not have the appropriate age to enter a bar.

This has become a growing phenomenon and we have seen a widespread application of these viewing parties during the OWL season in 2018.

BarCraft SC2 viewing party

The term BarCraft was created as a play on the words Bar and StarCraft. This was during the second wave of esports back in 2010 when people needed a way to tournaments with all the new streaming technology.

barstrike viewing party esports

Barstrike CS:GO viewing party

Watching events for CS:GO is called BarStrikes which is also a registered trademark and founded in Sweden. The concept called BarStrike made deals with already established sports bars in Sweden.

They invited people from the CS:GO scene and the community to fill bars all over Sweden. BarStrike focuses on major CS:GO tournaments such as the Major’s, as well as most of the Dreamhack events.

Pubstomp Dota 2 viewing party

People with interests in other games have created their own concepts for IRL-gatherings to watch tournaments.

Dota 2 calls their events Pubstomps and they are most commonly organized around The International in the middle of the summer each year.

How to find the best esports bar

Finding the best esports bar is a lot easier today than just a few years ago. Going to a bar to watch competitive gaming.

Local esports venues are showing up in many major cities and many of them are very popular.

Sweden has proven to be an amazing country to visit to fulfill your gaming bar needs. Quiz nights are a common activity at many of the bars and restaurants in the space. Challenging with time zones and business hours.

A few pioneering bars have become chains and franchises already. Gaming themed food and drinks are common on the menu.

There are also gaming consoles available to borrow, along with board games and gaming PC’s.

GGBAR Gothenburg, Sweden

ggbar esports bar

In the last few years, a handful of esports themed bars have opened in Sweden. GGBAR is the first dedicated esports restaurant and venue to open in Sweden and Gothenburg.

“Sweden’s first dedicated esports bar”


Kappa Bar Gothenburg, Sweden

kappa bar esports restaurant

Soon another company opened its doors, also in Gothenburg and it was called Kappa Bar. Click here to read more about the Kappa Bar franchise and its many local esports restaurants around Sweden.

“The Kappa Bar-chain’s first location”


Kappa Bar Stockholm, Sweden

kappa bar sthlm esports venue

They have since opened another bar in Stockholm, and are now calling themselves Sweden’s first esports restaurant chain and franchise. The restaurant has grown to be a popular place for people to go for after works and quiz nights.

They also have a selection of consoles visitors may place, as well as a handful of och gaming computers for teams who want to practice together.

“One of the first esports bar franchises in the world”

Kappabar Sweden

Guildhall Bar, Burbank California

Guildhall Burbank California

The whole venue is available for rent for larger parties

Guildhall Bar is one of the most active bars when it comes to social media. Almost every single day they have something to announce on their schedule and they have a lot of activities throughout the week.

The age limit is 21 in order to serve gaming themes drinks. In addition, they have an extensive craft beer selection along with sports bistro-type food. They host an array of events like quiz-nights, and board game nights in their lounge.

Our conclusion is that you don’t have to be an esports fanatic to enjoy a night at the Guildhall Bar. Passionate gamers may plan and host their own tournaments at The Summoners.

“An extensive craft beer selection along with sports bistro-type food.”

Guild Hall Esports bar

BarCraft Esport & Geek Bar

barcraft esports

One of the first dedicated bars in Europe and it’s called BarCraft Esport Pub. Despite being named after the viewing concept for StarCraft, BarCraft Esport Esport & Geek Bar has not limited themselves to just one game.

Meltdown Budapest, Hungary

So far we have found 2 esports bars in Budapest, the capital of Hungary. The first one is a franchise, Meltdown Budapest and is part of the French bar chain.

In addition to viewing events for various tournaments, the venue also has a few gaming computers customers may use.

Outrage Esports Bar, Portland US

Outrage is located in Portland and is a bar for people of 21 years of age. People are encouraged to make an online reservation before attending one of the events.

In addition, the Portland bar also hosts various gaming tournaments inside their venue. The bar has a high score from attendees based on the reviews found on Facebook.

The menu consists of tacos, burgers, and sandwiches and Outrage has an extensive selection of craft beer along with gaming-themed drinks to choose from.

Next Level Esports Bar and Gaming Club, Houston

Next level esports bar and gaming club has a large focus on gaming at the venue. They have the newest games and equipment including PC and Playstation, but also a large selection of table-top games.

Other than playing yourself it is possible to watch streams and tournaments on any of the large screens present in the venue.

They also serve snacks and microwaved food to hungry esports supporters. Next Level does not serve alcohol fans under the age of 12 may attend the bar in company with an adult.

After 10 pm, however, the venue is reserved for attendees age 18 and above.

The Hive Esports – Toronto, Canada

The Hive Esports in Toronto Canada hosts regular “Fight Clubs” which are gaming-focused gatherings and tourneys. They have a high score from reviews on Facebook.

Like so many other bars in the esports space, The Hive offers an exotic collection of craft beer along with a full kitchen.

The bar also has a membership program that regular visitors can subscribe to in order to get benefits such as discounts and free time with the venue’s game consoles.

The Summoners – Glasgow, Scotland


The Summoners is located in Glasgow, Scotland and they present themselves as a “game cafe, traditional pub, and esports match view arena”.

The venue is a place where you can play games (even your own ones that you bring!) and they broadcast most major esports leagues.

Connect Esport Bar – Umeå, Sweden

Another concept was founded in Umeå, in the northern parts of Sweden. The people behind Connect Esport bar have since been overwhelmed by the huge interest in watching esports tournaments at their venue.

The Adventory Conclusion

We have found many esports themed bars in Europe, but also a growing number in the United States and Canada. The concept has spread all over the globe, and the rest of the world is slowly catching up.

We strongly believe this concept is here to stay and many of the locations may challenge traditional sports bar in terms of popularity and size.

What started as occasional meetups in random bars has grown into something bigger, which need their own dedicated venues.


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