Inside the unique Whitley Bay café where you can play retro video games

This Whitley Bay café is more than just coffee and cake – it offers an unusual twist that allows visitors to go on a nostalgic trip back to their childhood.

Retro Bay Café is a place where video game enthusiasts can come together to play the games that they loved most when they were younger. The café is packed with some of the most popular games from the 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond, giving gamers the opportunity to have a go on consoles from decades past.

Owner Mike Smith, 44, was inspired to mix his two biggest passions – gaming and coffee – together in the wake of the pandemic. Mike hoped to create a space that would bring people together again after being isolated in lockdown.

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The result was a unique mashup of a café and retro arcade, with 25 gaming screens offering visitors the chance to play the likes of Nintendo, Sega, Atari and PlayStation favourites. The games span from 70s classic Pong to more modern additions like PlayStation 4, and everything in between.

Mike’s favourite in the café is Bubble Bobble – a 1986 arcade game featuring two bubble-blowing dragons. The café is decorated with retro memorabilia, lots of it from Mike’s own collection, and is instantly recognisable in Whitley Bay with giant Pac-Man and Mario Super Mushrooms decorating the windows.



Inside Retro Bay Café in Whitley Bay

Retro Bay is also a proper café, serving up coffee from Tynemouth-based roasters Relish as well as toasties and hot sandwiches. There’s always a variety of freshly baked treats on offer too, all homemade by Mike’s mum – and even they fit into the video game theme, baked into the shape of Pac-Man and the Ghost Gang.

The café will soon be celebrating its first birthday in Whitley Bay, having opened on 2 June last year. Suitable for all ages, Mike promises that anyone visiting will always get a friendly welcome. “It’s more of a community than a business,” he says.

Gaming slots can be booked via the Retro Bay Cafe website, and monthly subscriptions can be bought too. The café is also available to book for parties, and gamers can join in with monthly tournaments to compete for the top spot on the leader board and win prizes.

Watch the video above to take a look around Retro Bay Café.

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