Gaming bar launches Kickstarter, eyes Tempe location

A video game bar has its eyes on a space on Mill Avenue in Tempe – but it’s dangerous to go alone.

Endgame Bar has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money and support for its bid to move into the 7,000 square foot space at 699 S. Mill Ave., owned by Arizona State University, by the fall

Ryan Scott is the project founder and a former ASU student. He said in a interview with Arizona Gamer that he has plans for Endgame to provide console-based entertainment in a gamer-friendly bar atmosphere.

He’s joined in the project by Nikki DelRosso, the lead designer and website manager, and Mike Goosens, the project’s marketing coordinator and head bartender.

Scott said in an interview with Arizona Gamer that there are two main goals for the Kickstarter campaign: to raise additional funds to pay for a liquor license, which costs around $70,000 in Arizona, and to demonstrate to ASU that there is interest in such a venue.

“We wanted to be able to use the Kickstarter to show the people that have doubts that this is something that people actually want,” Scott said.

The Endgame team has raised some of the funds for the liquor license themselves but needs the $30,000 asked for in the Kickstarter to make up the difference, Scott said.

Endgame project lead Ryan Scott, middle, is joined by designer Nikki DelRosso, right, and marketer/bartender Mike Goosens.

The property on Mill Avenue is owned by ASU and was previously occupied by Antar’s Sports Bistro, which has since gone bankrupt. But its reputation for rowdy drunkenness has potentially soured ASU on allowing another bar to lease the location, Scott said.

The school is currently considering two businesses for the property – Endgame with a one-year, property as-is lease and a Scottsdale restaurant looking for a 10-year lease and a near complete remodel.

A large number of Kickstarter backers would help Endgame’s case with ASU regardless of the size of each donation, Scott said.

“The backer number being high is really what we’re aiming for with this,” Scott said.

In addition, Scott said he is in talks with local gaming pizzeria Super Pizza Bros. to provide food for Endgame, which he thinks would also help his case with ASU.

The team feels there is a large enough gamer population in Arizona to support a business like Endgame.

“There are a lot of gaming groups that are around the area,” DelRosso said in an interview with Arizona Gamer.

“And they’re all really excited about this because our location is on campus,” Scott added.

Endgame would be split into a gaming section and a bar section, Scott said. The gaming section would be open to all ages with a $10 entrance fee. The area would include gaming consoles ranging from the NES to the PS4 and Xbox One. For a complete game list, visit Endgame’s website.

Some guests showed up in costume to one of Endgame’s beta test events.

Scott has already rented out the space for two “beta test” game nights and a third is planned for June. He said the turnout was encouraging and another point for Endgame’s case with ASU.

The gaming section would close to those under 21 at 10 p.m. and remain open for other patrons until 2 or 3 a.m., Scott said. Bar patrons would also be required to pay the $10 cover fee to enter; however, Scott said Endgame will offer drink specials that waive the fee if it can get its liquor license.

Scott, who spent time researching “barcades” in Oregon, said a cover fee is preferable to timed gaming because it’s less restrictive.

“Nobody wants to pay by the hour to play video games when they can just do that at home for free,” Scott said. “But there’s still a demand for it because there’s a social atmosphere.”

Scott added that Endgame will also welcome board and card gamers but its primary target audience will be console gamers.

Other than the high cost of the liquor license, the other initial costs for Endgame would be relatively low, Scott said, because most of the needed equipment remained in place after Antar’s Sports Bistro went bankrupt.

If Endgame’s Kickstarter fails to reach its goal, Scott still plans to move forward with the location supplying beer, wine and potentially food. However, Scott feels a liquor license would greatly improve the service (and profitability) of Endgame, he said.

“I would really like them to succeed,” local gamer Gina Coleman said. “I know there is a wealth of nerds in the area that would love such a thing… I don’t understand why ASU would not jump all over the idea.”

Endgame’s third and final “beta test” event will take place noon-10 p.m. on June 14, two days before the end of its Kickstarter on June 16.

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