Netherworld in Fortitude Valley is Brisbane’s first arcade game bar and one that ticks all the boxes – copious craft beer on tap, vegan food, arcade and board games galore, historic setting, retro music and a friendly Cheers-like vibe.
Punters of any age will feel right at home at Netherworld, a rare all-inclusive bar where dress code is also non-existent, and the emphasis on having good old-fashioned fun.
Pull up a stool in the original art deco bar at the front and play cards or strike up a conversation while sinking a cool beer or head out back to where cavernous arcades featuring original handmade brick walls and stunning street art are lined with pinball machines and he best arcade games from past decades.
Retro faves include Space Invaders, Frogger, Donkey Kong, Daytona USA and Flash Gordon along with Twilight Zone, The Addams Family and Ghostbusters pinball machines.
There’s also tables set up with Mario Kart for those who like things more contemporary and alongside a rear window is a stage where anything from live bands and trash movie nights to weekly pop culture trivia quizzes are held.
And in the library of table games you'll find the old skool including Monopoly, Pictionary, Absolute Balderdash, Scrabble, Snakes and Ladders and Cluedo along with fun Netherworldish stuff like Ghost Stories and Zombicide.
In the centre of Netherworld is the Hellmouth Diner, a quirky ‘cabin’ with BBQ table seating out front, fairy lights strung overhead and an upstairs balcony occupied by hell-ish Netherworld creatures including a skeleton and demon.
The food served here is all vegan-based (with add-ons) and mostly gluten-free (Netherworld can cater for any food intolerance too – just ask), with an American-Japanese flavour.
Bar Bites include Hellmouth Fries and the more copious Loaded Fries (with BBQ jackfruits, cheese and jalapeno salsa), Onion Rings, Tempura Mushrooms, Kimchi Pancakes and Popcorn Critters (lightly spiced tofu bites with Hellmouth’s sriracha mayo).
More substantial is the Koppa Katsu (panko crumbed eggplant) Burger, the Hellbound Hot Dog (brat vege sausage, kimchi pickles, cabbage kraut, diced onions and Sriracho mayo) or the Jackalope (black bean, green pepper and mushroom) Burrito.
Other offerings include The Sasquatch Bowl (USA) – torn BBQ jackfruit, apple slaw, onion rings, sweet potato waffles, dill pickle and US mustard – and The Manticore (Persian) – quinoa tabbouleh, pickled red cabbage, zucchini fritter, hummus, cumin, roast sweet potato and smoked eggplant.
Meanwhile drinks include 24 beers and ciders on tap, from Fortitude, Stone & Wood, Newstead Brewing Co, Two Birds, Brewtal, Brouhaha (NZ) and Netherworld’s own ‘The Kobold’ pale ale, with Kelly Brothers and Willie Smiths ciders.
House specialty at Netherworld are the House-Made Sodas and wicked Loaded Sodas (with shots), or there’s a small range of boutique wines and spirits, as well as cocktails including Manhattan, Negroni, Old Fashioned, El Diablo and Caipirinha.
The menu may have changed since our visit.
186 Brunswick St