A shade over a year since it was first announced, Cineplex will open the Rec Room at the Avalon Mall this week.
As guests enter the 30,000 square foot dining and entertainment facility — located across the hall from Cineplex Theatres and encompassing part of what used to be the Starcade and Glow in One Mini Golf on the shopping centre’s second floor — they are greeted by a dazzling display of all manner of games in an area dubbed The Yard.
Games are played using reloaded RFID (radio frequency identification) wristbands instead of quarters or loonies — are grouped together based on type and target demographic, with added space allotted for spectators that will inevitably congregate around certain games.
But the Yard isn’t just for kids, families and video game enthusiasts. There are also some modern takes on some popular 1980s video games like Pong and Pac Man, as well as pool tables, ping pong, air hockey, and a glass bubble dome hockey table.
It’s worth noting, as well, that the Rec Room obtained a recreational liquor license, meaning patrons are free to move about the entire facility — not just the bar and dining area — with their alcoholic beverages.
More than half the games are point-bearing games which allow the user to collect points and cash them in The Trophy Case, which features everything from stuffed toys to video game systems to Michael Kors handbags.
While the gaming area offers a feast for the senses — sight, hearing and touch — Cineplex says it was able to rise above the din of its entertainment with a menu focused on bold flavours that would add to the multi-sensory experience.
Opposite the gaming area is the dining area where patrons can sit down for a full-service meal at Three10 or grab a quick drink and a snack from The Shed. It also features a full-service bar, semi-private dining area and a stage for concerts, comedians, trivia and other entertainment options.
The Avalon Mall location is Cineplex’s first Rec Room in Atlantic Canada and the first to offer the VRcade, a virtual reality experience from VRstudios. It’s also the first Rec Room to offer VRcade, axe-throwing and four-lanes of 10-pin bowling in one location.
The Rec Room opens to the public this Thursday. Hours of operation for the first week are 3 p.m. until close, which is dependent on how busy it is. After the first week, regular hours of operation 11 a.m. until close. Initial demand is expected to be quite high, so Cineplex officials are strongly advising potential guests to make a reservation.
An official grand opening is set for mid-May.