A new gaming bar – New Meta Gaming Arena – has opened in North London, and its CEO has spoken to Esports News UK about the launch and what it’s all about.
The bar opened on September 1st 2022 at 116H Upper Street, London, N1 1QP.
The two-floor venue boasts 44 gaming PCs, a streaming booth, console booth, food and drink and is running a range of esports tournaments. There are two tournament rooms, each with two sets of five PCs.
The bar will also work with up and coming esports teams to provide them with ‘an affordable space to bootcamp, train and meet like minded people’ (for example, last weekend the bar had Valorant team Genkei bootcamp in store).
Of course, there will also be viewing parties. There’s been some League of Legends Worlds ones, and an International 11 final viewing party will take place on October 30th 2022. (related article: Fnatic file report over integrity issues at The International 11 Dota 2 tournament)
Ed Kim, CEO of Boinc Gaming Limited, the company behind New Meta, told Esports News UK he and his business partner Vlad had been around LAN cafes all their life growing up in Ukraine.
He moved to the UK at 17 years old, and has previously worked as a product manager for companies like Shazam and Experian, before launching his own startup in AI for the fitness industry, working with gyms, then getting an idea for the gaming bar.
“Growing up, it was always something kids and adults would look forward to doing,” Ed said. “Gaming is a lot more fun when you’re with friends. I started gaming at around 24 years old playing Dota 2, I’m atrocious at it because I’m old! I wanted to play and spend time with friends.
“What happened is I went back home to Ukraine [a while back], and saw that LAN cafes were now called esports centres. We did a small tournament and it was the best experience!
“We want to provide a place for gamers, whether casual or a bit more serious, where they have a very open and inclusive environment where they can participate in LAN events, meet people, build teams and have the same experience people have when they play football or tennis. We’re trying to do this as an inclusive low barrier to entry.”
New Meta Gaming Arena charges £4 an hour for its gaming arena, £5 an hour for its duo rooms and £6 an hour for its battle arena.
Ed said the company may be open to launching more stores in the future, but for now is focusing on this venue.
New Meta Gaming Arena’s esports tournament and academy plans
CEO Ed Kim explained said they’re running League of Legends, Dota 2 and CSGO tournaments on a rolling basis, which are aiming to be best-of-three one-day tournaments.
“People don’t have to have a team [to enter our tournaments],” Ed said. “I want people to be able to meet new people and not have to form a team together.”
The company is also working on an esports academy.
“That’ll be for kids aged 8-16,” Ed continued, “with a curated structured curriculum for kids to learn esports and pick up important life skills.
“You have all these kids either not into sports or unable to do sports, who might like gaming.
“Sports develops life skills like patience, dedication, teamwork, leadership, communication. We want to offer kids that are not able or willing to do sports a place where they can experience all the same things, and have their own jersey, while they also play games and learn how to apply those skills in video games. It’s more unique.
“The camaraderie and friendships kids might be able to make when participating in our academy is also important.”
New Meta Gaming Arena joins a number of other esports/gaming bars in the UK, including the likes of Meltdown, Pixel Bar, Platform, SideQuest and more.
Dom is an award-winning writer and finalist of the Esports Journalist of the Year 2023 award. He graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Federation up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and offer esports consultancy and freelance services. Note: Dom still produces the British Esports newsletter on a freelance basis, so our coverage of British Esports is always kept simple – usually just covering the occasional press release – because of this conflict of interest.