Fortitude Valley's retro arcade and board game bar will ensure that you're never bored while sipping a pint.
Sarah Ward
Published on August 30, 2023
Updated on January 29, 2024


Shelves of board games. Rows of arcade games. A wall of old-school consoles with retro televisions to match. Daytona given pride of place. The sound of The Simpsons' theme filtering through the playing space. Welcome to Netherworld, which earned the honour of being Brisbane's first arcade game bar when it opened in 2017. If you like hitting flippers, smashing buttons and passing go, all while drinking brews and eating burgers, you'll like it here. Trust us.

Don't go thinking that this is a nerd dungeon, however. The Fortitude Valley venue is accessible for everyone that's keen on pairing their beverage with something fun. Like Holey Moley Golf Club just a few blocks away, having a good time is the name of the game here (and yes, shuffling between the two is one of Brisbane's best pub crawls).

From the moment that you walk into Netherworld, you'll notice a laidback vibe — and games a plenty, unsurprisingly. If cards, counters, dice and decks all form part of your preferred kind of gaming, you're in luck. Everything from a Fallout-themed edition of Monopoly to Settlers of Catan to Balderdash can be or have been found on Netherworld's shelves. They're all be free to play for patrons — and if there's a better thing to do while knocking back one of the bar's craft beers, with a focus on local brewers, we can't think of one.

Sarah Ward

Okay, maybe we can: roaming between the venue's rooms pumping shiny Netherworld tokens or coins into pinball and arcade machines, the main attraction. Mosey past the heritage-listed bar itself — which has been given a nice touch-up, but still boasts the requisite retro feel for anyone feeling nostalgic — and you might NBA Jam, Space Invaders, Frogger, Centipede, Double Dragon, Street Fighter, Pac Man, Donkey Kong and more, with the range changing and rotating. Pinball-wise, tables devoted to GhostbustersThe Addams Family, Metallica, The Twilight ZoneBatmanTales from the Crypt and Flash Gordon could await.

There's more, namely Nintendo, Sega and Atari video game consoles hooked up to classic TVs (because you can't go OG with one and not the other), plus bright, lively murals pushing Netherworld's monster theme, and a few spooky characters if you look up in the right spot. A stage, projector and pull-down screen sit at the end of the space, with live gigs and film screenings also on the hangout's agenda.

For a place named after somewhere hellish or hidden, it's all rather inviting, which also fits the food and drink lineup. At the Hellmouth Diner, American and Japanese influences infiltrate a selection of bar fare that aims higher than the greasy usual bites to eat. All standard items such as burgers, karaage and bowls are also vegan-friendly, though meat and dairy can be added.

Images: Cole Bennetts / Sarah Ward.


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