By Leo Stevenson
Melbourne-based gamers/drinkers were delighted when they heard the news that a Mana Bar would be opening in their fair city. Wind the clock back to 15 July last year, and the day had finally arrived. I was one of the many gamers excited for the bar's opening, so I had woken up at 5 am and headed into Fitzroy to line up and ensure I was one of the first inside. A cold and tired 7 hours later, I was finally inside, "Ocarina of Lime" in hand. It was a good thing I had lined up so early as by 12 pm, the line stretched on for (almost literally!) miles. I clearly remember the great party atmosphere and the sense of community that permeated through the crowd and the venue that day. I attritubute this in part to the overall friendliness of gamers and in part to the hard work and dedication of the Mana Bar crew.
Now, it's one year later and the Mana Bar Melbourne is still going strong; serving up games, drinks and a place for the plethora of Melbourne-based geeks and nerds to call their own. This Sunday, 15 July, will mark one full year since the opening of the bar; to celebrate this occasion the staff have planned a birthday event to rival the opening. I spoke with Mana Bar Melbourne's events co-ordinator (and iiNet Top Geek 2.0 finalist) Skaidris Gunsmith, about the past year and his experience at the Mana Bar. It's clear that he loves his job, especially if you have ever attended one of his fortnightly trivia nights (protip - get there early as it gets very full, very quickly). His excitment and anticipation for the upcoming birthday celebration and onwards into the future is infectious.
"Since we opened in 2011 in Melbourne it's been a steep learning curve," he said. "Brisbane and Melbourne are two entirely different beasts and we've had to learn to adapt and grow with our surroundings."
"The past year has been a whirlwind of friends and lessons learnt, which is why we're calling this event a Birthday Party and not an Anniversary because it truly feels like we've grown over the past year instead of merely existed for 12 months" he continues -- and on visiting the bar, you can't help but agree. The staff have a love for games and the culture that rivals that of their patrons and is only exceeded by the obvious friendships they have with each other.
"All credit and love goes to our manager Meg who has kept the entire ship together and somehow managed to maintain a somewhat cool head during our teething," said Skaidris.
So Steviants, head on down to Fitzroy this Sunday afternoon and join in on the festivities of Mana Bar Melbourne's 1st birthday. It's to be a day filled with games, cocktails, competitions, special guests and much more.
"We would love if everyone came down and had a drink with us on the Sunday to help celebrate everyones hard work," said Skaidris, a sentiment I believe to be shared by the entire Mana Bar Melbourne crew.
Oh, and while you're there don't forget to say "Hi" to your favorite Stevivor.com staff member -- me, of course!
(Not only that, but all of us here at Stevivor.com want to wish the Mana Bar Melbourne a very happy birthday! -Steve)