Classic arcade games planned for retro bar

The new bar will offer retro games like Pac-Man. Picture: Pamela Grigg

The new bar will offer retro games like Pac-Man. Picture: Pamela Grigg

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IT’S the exclusive nightspot set to mix Pac-Man with Saturday Night Fever to create an entertainment cocktail in the West End.

A retro-style basement bar featuring classic arcade games is to open on Shandwick Place – allowing revellers to relive the glory years of Super Mario and Space Invaders to a soundtrack of 70s disco anthems.

Billed as the secret doorway to a “playground of retro fun”, the bar – called PDT or Please Don’t Tell – will boast flashing tiled dancefloors, old-school disco lights, dry ice machines and booths fitted with video game staples including Puzzle Bubble and Doom.

Retro-style “inflatable” furniture, whiteboards for doodling and touch screens are among features set to enthrall drinkers as they jive and gyrate to hits like Michael Jackson’s Blame it on the Boogie.

Set to open over seven nights a week until 1am, the planned opening is the latest sign of the West End’s commercial resurgence after it was hit by disruption caused by construction of the city’s tramline.

Caroline Loudon, an agent for Edinburgh-based developers Polmex, said: “It’ll be a fun place to go – somewhere different for the city centre.

“The [city’s] policy asks us to have a distinct style of operation, so I said to Polmex, ‘don’t just come back to us with a bar – it does need to be different’. That’s what they have come forward with.”

PDT will be based in premises formerly run by Coral Betting and Polmex chiefs hope their 180-capacity venue will enhance the West End as one of the Capital’s principal nighttime destinations.

And they believe the opening could fuel the popularity of retro-themed party and leisure centres across the city.

We revealed previously how Edinburgh entrepreneurs Barry Cuthbertson and Jeff Jaydee wanted to raise £285,000 through the Kickstarter site for a Tokyo-style arcade complex in the Grassmarket.

Although that attempt foundered, Ms Loudon predicted PDT would not be the last retro-bar to open its doors in Edinburgh.

“It’s simply that it’s come back into fashion,” she said. “There’s nothing in the market like this, it’s very different.”

Police chiefs have raised concerns over whether the opening will contribute to a growing problem of “overprovision” in Edinburgh, with Tollcross already considered to be awash with licensed premises.

Inspector Dianne Bruce said: “Surely the number of bars in that area is a concern. Do we need another bar? I would argue that it will bring additional numbers into the area.”

But the city’s licensing board voted to grant a licence to Polmex earlier this week, while Ms Loudon stressed PDT would be a safe and responsible drinking environment, with special “dry” drinking nights when non-alcoholic cocktails will be offered.

“We needed to have an original and unique concept,” she said. “The difference is really important.”

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com