Underground Gaming Gem: NQ64

Despite living in Manchester my entire life and being of drinking age for 6 years now, I could probably count the amount of Northern Quarter bars I’ve visited on one hand. Ah, the tribulations of being a poor student. However, last night I visited the recently opened NQ64 bar which is hidden away between the Short Street entrance of Afflecks Palace and next door to Crazy Pedro’s NQ for one of my closest friend’s birthday celebrations (Happy birthday Georgia!) and I thought I’d share what I loved about the nostalgic, underground bar. 🕹️

As you walk down the stairs you are immediately greeted with the vibrant, neon lights and nostalgic, arcade noises underneath the hip-hop music playing across the bar – a lot of beloved classics played throughout my night including Stan by Eminem and of course, Ludacris’s Move Bitch. A completely on point soundtrack for playing Mario Kart on the SNES.

NQ64 opened a month or two ago and it has definitely become a popular space for both gamers and non-gamers as the place was very busy and bustling, however the rule of ‘no game hogging’ seemed like a non-spoken manner that everybody abided which was nice. It wasn’t difficult at all to try out different games throughout the night with nobody spending too long on one thing. Throughout the night I got to play Street Fighter (which I sucked at), Space Invaders, Golden Axe, Mario Kart, Spiderman Pinball and Guitar Hero Arcade (which I thought I was decent at, until I came back later to go against a friend and realised I sucked if you put the difficulty any higher than easy, oops.) But there was tons of more consoles and arcade machines to try – even one in the ladies toilets! 👾

Sick bar wall!

The drinks menu at the bar was really cool – with Camden Pale on draught and a lot to choose from on the board behind the bar if you fancied anything specific but the real thing that sets NQ64 apart from other bars in Northern Quarter, for me anyways, is it’s game-themed cocktail menu. I went in to the night, personally deciding I’d try and stick to just one cocktail to save money, went away having tried at least 3 of the £8 cocktails. RIP bank account. I tried their ‘Root Beer Tapper’ and ‘Bubble Bubble’ but my absolute favourite was their ‘Dig Dug’ cocktail. Absolutely deeeeelicious. It just tasted like Irn Bru with a slight tequila tinge which is a dangerous game for me and cocktails! At least with some alcoholic drinks, you drink them slowly because your tastebuds are very aware it’s alcoholic and it doesn’t taste more-ish but the Dig Dug did. I finished my first one so quick because it was just so tasty! At £8 for all their cocktails though, if you want to save money try and not storm through your first drink or you’ll find yourself spending a lot of cash.

Overall I absolutely can’t wait to revisit NQ64 and I will be recommending it to a lot of friends. The atmosphere is great and nostalgic and the drinks are not to be turned down. I would quite like to see a mocktail maybe at a pound or two cheaper for people who do not drink but I imagine you can buy a glass of lemonade or root beer alone if you asked! £8 for their amazing cocktails though is standard Northern Quarter price I’d say though so if you plan to visit NQ and you’re open to paying the NQ price – visit NQ64 solely for the retro nostalgia trip.

Find out more at NQ64.co.uk 👽