A new gaming and dining spot in Barrie has the perfect solution for some out-of-the-house fun after nearly a year-and-a-half of being stuck at home.
The Rec Room Barrie, located in the city's south end at Mapleview Drive and Bayview Drive at Park Place, spans 30,000 square feet and features approximately 100 different games from video games like the biggest Pac-Man game ever, classic racing games like Mario Kart to multiple virtual reality games or ping-pong and 10-pin bowling.
“We think it’s important to have a good mix of physical activity as well as exposure to technology, so that is where the bowling comes in, as well as the ping pong tables, billiards and shuffleboard,” said Kashif Ahmad, executive director of amusement and entertainment for Cineplex.
Barrie is the 10th location in Canada and the fourth in the province, with half of the fully licensed space devoted to dining and live entertainment and the other half devoted to amusement games and feature attractions.
“Guests can come for a dining or gaming experience — or both,” he said during a recent tour prior to today's official opening.
The Three10 dining area offers a multitude of menu and drink options and will also feature a variety of live shows — from music, DJs, comedy acts and even karaoke.
Around the corner from the main bar and restaurant is The Shed, a more snack-bar style option, where guests can grab smaller items and drinks and get back to their games. The Rec Room also boasts 'The Den', which can be used for larger dining groups, meetings or corporate events.
“Our target demographic is millennials, with our secondary demographic being a little bit older than that, but we know full well people are still going to come in with their families and kids,” he said.
For guests looking to play, they purchase an RFID wristband which then loads and tracks their credits, as well as their points earned, which can later be used to purchase a variety of items in The Trophy Case.
“You can register your tag, so if you want to continue to store your points, or you lose it, you will always have access to that information. It’s your permanent tag every time you come back,” he said. “You can redeem your points on the same day as your visit or you can store your points and save up for one of the larger prizes, such as a Nintendo Switch, Michael Kors purses, iPads, etc.”
The Trophy Case also features branded items, a selection of nostalgic candy, plushies, games and Lego.
“Everything is themed depending on what you like," said Ahmed.
With so many games to choose from, Ahmed, who admitted he owns his very own Pac-Man blazer, told BarrieToday his personal favourite would probably be Mario Kart.
“I’ve played a lot of Mario Kart in my life and I like fantasy soccer, because it adds a physical activity to a sports game," he said.
The Barrie location has been a while in the making, and the company is excited to finally be opening the doors.
“The facility was ready to go, but with the pandemic the opening was put on hold. Now that we have the ability to open and restrictions have been lifted, we are opening up, (but) obviously not at full capacity,” Ahmed said.
The facility has an official capacity of 660, but is limiting capacity at around 330 guests for the time being, he added.
Ahmed says he’s most excited about getting the community inside the new facility and having some fun after a tough 18 months.
“Everyone has been so eager, so it’s really about getting people back inside and being able to do activities outside of their house. With our venue safe protocols where we have enhanced cleaning, Lysol wipes and pumps throughout the facility (and) distancing) we are really trying to set it up so guests as well as the staff will be safe.”