Located in the heart of Melbourne city, GG EZ is an esports fan’s dream.
To be honest: when I first heard about GG EZ opening, I was unsure what to think about it. I have heard of business owners trying to cash in on esports and gaming now that it’s becoming more popular, only to fail miserably.
But, I figured if someone is spending a lot of money, time and effort to open a bar (even just as a fad), I should at least see what it’s about!
When I first stepped in, I was greeted with warmth and a very large graphic of D.Va.
I grabbed a bubble tea (named the ‘Troll Cup’) which was sweet and sour, and featured chewy pearls. I made friends with the bar staff (always the best kind of friends to have!).
That was almost a year ago now, and it has now been my favourite bar to go to ever since.
So, how does a bar manage to balance competitive games on screens with a welcoming vibe?
Not easily at first – Lachlan, the owner of GG EZ, explains:
“For the first month we were running purely on Wi-Fi – it was hard to get a lot of streams going on at once. We had so many issues, internet, structural – it’s an old building. So many things broke in the first few months!”
It wasn’t his first rodeo though, as he has managed a few bars in his time, “If this was my first bar, I probably would’ve been disheartened and given up. Thankfully I have a lot of experience at running bars!”
As a big fan of the alcoholic bubble cups (I highly recommend you try one!), I had to find out his inspiration:
“It’s a point of difference [to other bars], and not too fancy, as our demographic aren’t always going to want high priced cocktails. It’s a nod to the SEA culture and how prevalent esports is there.”
One of the things I noticed about the bar was the attention to detail – the excellently drawn characters, the bright-yet-understated branding.
“The art and logo were created by my partner Justine, she really liked the neon look. The logo is split where ‘GG’ is blue showing the good natured part of gaming, and ‘EZ’ is red (which makes the phrase harsher). It’s a really cool juxtaposition.”
Funnily enough, some people didn’t want to support the bar because the name embraced ‘toxicity’ in esports. Their loss!
What’s been one of the biggest challenges so far?
“Trying to do a calendar is a nightmare because a lot of tournaments give late notice and are on at various times – especially international ones.”
If he could do it over again, he wouldn’t have focused so hard on claiming a ‘nightclub’ license, as it’s expensive and doesn’t get to utilise the extended hours as much.
He would like to have a franchise somewhere with more foot traffic, possibly near a University.
His dream? To run a GG EZ cocktail bar in New York.
It’s clear that Lachie knows how to own and run a successful bar, and is a dedicated esports fan. His friendly nature really shines through, and his hard work is really paying off on making it a success!
I also had a chat with Ruby, the bar manager and long time friend and colleague of Lachy.
I asked about how she got involved with the bar.
“Lachy messaged me as he really wanted more girls involved and wanted to know if I knew anyone who would be interested. At the time I was pretty unhappy in my job, so I ended up taking the role.”
Ruby explained she wasn’t familiar with esports, but she learned about the community passively working through the bar:
“It was a little daunting at first, but what I have mostly found is that the community is really supportive and friendly. Most people just want to get me into whatever games it is that they are into.”
Her favourite thing about bars are the people. Especially small bars, “when staff become like family, and regulars become genuine friends (and give her baked goods).”
I agree with this sentiment – my baked goods are quite tasty.
She’s been working at bars for 10 years now. But does she see herself doing it for the next 10 years?
“I think GG will be my last bar job, but I do see myself staying here for a bit longer. I enjoy the culture, the bar itself and the people I work with.”
“I may go back and study, I might just get a boring office job. I don’t really know at all! The world is my oyster!”
She makes an awesome beverage and wears the best earrings. Seriously, her hoop earrings are amazing.
GG EZ is the “unofficial official afterparty” of the Melbourne Esports Open.
I’ll be volunteering at the MEO and having a bevvy afterwards!
Hope to see you there!
Aim for the stars,