Gaming Cowboy: Hanging out at the New Saloon
It’s with a heavy heart that I announce that Hobby Saloon is no longer. The former bar/trading card game shop ran into high rent and low traffic in their previous location in Osu Kannon in Nagoya. It was an interesting idea. Midnight pre-releases, FNM that started at 10 pm and allowed those that worked late to play, decent prices on single cards, and to top it off they sold food and alcoholic beverages while you played your games! I’m gonna miss it. I went there almost every Friday evening I could spare, getting in two Friday Night Magics and getting tons of Japanese promos. It’s really too bad the store couldn’t continue in its previous form. However, a phoenix rises from its ashes. Today I’d like to present to my readers, Game Saloon.
Not far from Sunshine Sakae in the heart of Nagoya, you can find Game Saloon. It’s no longer the Trading Card Game bar that it was before, but it’s still a cool place to check out. If you’ve been to Shinjuku, Tokyo before, then you might have heard of 8 Bit Cafe before (it has an AWESOME website you can find here). 8 Bit cafe is an all our video game bar. You can order drinks and play old NES, SNES, and other old games all night long with friends. While Game Saloon isn’t on par with 8 Bit Cafe yet, it is still a fun place to check out and you don’t have to travel all the way to Tokyo to experience a gamer cafe!
Inside the small (some might say ‘intimate’) bar you can find a number of nerdy things to do. The bar has a Famicom and other games you can play at the bar, free karaoke as long as you’re buying drinks. There is an initial 500 yen table charge for sitting down, but I think it’s totally worth it. Aside from being able to play your choice of video games on various systems (new and old), there are also a few TVs showing game and anime related things all night long. If you feel like drinking all night, they have a nomihodai (all you can drink) service that lasts for 2 hours that costs 2100 yen, or you can buy from their reasonably priced drinks. If you’re liver can handle it, it’s a great way to unwind, get drunk, and play some video games after work. If you just want to sit down and play Monster Hunter or Pokemon on your 3DS or PSP, there is plenty of bar space to sit down and chat with your friends at.
MTG isn’t totally gone from Game Saloon however. Yes, you can no longer buy single cards as the store doesn’t have any display space in the bar, but if you want to pre order boxes, do midnight pre-releases, or organize a draft with friends, Game Saloon can help you out. Game Saloon also continues to do late night FNM every week, so those of you that can’t make a 6 pm (or 7pm at Prinny Club) FNM, head on over to Game Saloon for a 9 pm start time. Depending on the turn out, it could be 2-3 rounds, but it should finish before the last train if you have to hop back on the subway and catch the JR or Meitetsu trains somewhere. On the last Friday of every month, they hold a MODERN tournament, and there has also been talk of starting up EDH as well. If you don’t feel like going home after FNM, you can stay and drink all night. I believe they are open from 6pm-3am (maybe 2) on most days, but on Sunday they close at midnight (I will confirm this).
Getting to Game Saloon
If you’re not from Nagoya, finding Game Saloon can be a little hard at first. If you’re coming from Nagoya Station, take the yellow Higashiyama subway line to Sakae Station. If you’re coming from Kanayama, take the purple Meijo line to Sakae subway station. Once there, head to exit 1. This will bring you up to street level right across from the giant Ferris Wheel at Sunshine Sakae. Walk up the street, away from the ferris wheel along Otsu Dori. Walk 2 blocks up the street, and at the 2nd stop light turn left on Fukuromachi Dori. From there, you will walk 3 blocks down the road until you pass Shichiken-cho Dori. Right across from the Hotel Nagoya Garden Palace is the Grace building, a thin building that seems like it’s full of small bars. On the outside of the building, you will see a long sign with all the bar names on it. Game Saloon should be near the top, on the 8th floor.
Once you arrive, take the elevator to the 8th floor and it will be right in front of you. If you speak a little Japanese and get lost, feel free to call the store at 090-8540-7231 for directions. You can also follow Game Saloon on twitter (@gamesaloon) and if you have Line, you can at Satti3104. If you want to bypass all these crazy directions, Game Saloon’s address is Aichi-ken, Nagoya-shi, Naka-ku, 3 Chome -10-20, Grace Building, 8F.
Why should you go to Game Saloon?
If you’re not one for clubbing or going to loud, crowded, bars with violent drunk people, Game Saloon is for you. It’s a chill place with tons of stuff to do and if you’re by yourself after a long day of work and just want a drink, it’s a good place to unwind. The late night Friday Night Magic events are also nice, and if anime, video games, and trading cards are your thing, you’ll find a lot of friends in this type of bar. It’s much cheaper than the Gundam and One Piece themed bars you’ll find around town as well. If you’re out in Sakae and looking for a place to go before the clubs, or a place to wind down afterwards, look into Game Saloon. I’ll personally be heading to the FNMs there in the future, so I hope to see you there. If you have any questions about the place, I’d be happy to find out more information for you!