A Fantasy Tavern, a Sci-Fi Bar and an Esports Arena: Here’s a Sneak Peak of Fortress Sydney

A Fantasy Tavern, a Sci-Fi Bar and an Esports Arena: Here’s a Sneak Peak of Fortress Sydney

If you’ve spent any time participating in the local video games community in Australia, then you’d know about Fortress – a gigantic gaming venue featuring bars, an esports arena and rows and rows of gaming computers that people can come in and use. You’d likely also know that Fortress is opening a second venue in Sydney – and today, we got our first look at the place.

Fortress Sydney features several different rooms:

  • The Tavern, a fantasy-themed bar where people can come and play Nintendo Switch games in private booths, host D&D sessions, or just hang out
  • 2315, a smaller sci-fi-themed bar that’s exclusive to the Sydney venue
  • The Arcade, a traditional big games arcade similar to Timezone
  • The Alienware Arena, an esports arena featuring a setup for competitive videogame tournaments, with a big stage (with a 5v5 team layout) and a large screen for displaying the gameplay to a raised audience (it also has an accompanying control room for spectating/casting/streaming)
  • The Telstra Lounge, a big room filled with Alienware computer setups that people can come in and play videogames on.

To the exclusion of 2315, these rooms are themed exactly the same as Fortress’ sister venue in Melbourne, however, it’s laid out differently.

In a media preview, much of Fortress Sydney was still being built. Builders were still on site, electricians were still fitting lights, and chairs were still being put in place.

With that in mind, the place still looked amazing. Let’s start with The Tavern. Mind the sound of power tools and hammers in the video below, but in the lead-up to Fortress Sydney’s opening on April 8, this is what the place looks like. The man giving the guided tour is Jon Satterley, the CEO & co-founder of Fortress.

Cool, right? I can’t wait to play Mario Kart 8 in those booths when it’s finished. Moreover, the attention to detail is incredible – Satterley obviously cares about his lore.

Moving on, unfortunately, we weren’t able to publically share any photos of the sci-fi bar 2315 – however, we can tell you that the bar is themed like a sci-fi bar that’s obsessed with the 21st century (and that Satterley wrote the lore with the assistance of ChatGPT). One of the bar’s gimmicks is a big fake computer with ‘Intel’ written on the side that generates AI images for the user based on input prompts. We were only allowed to snap a photo of its logo.

the fortress sydney
Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

Then we have The Arcade – probably the least impressive room in the entire venue, The Arcade includes big games of Space Invaders, VR Rollercoasters, Mario Kart with racing wheels and other Timezone-like experiences. Across the shopping centre floor from this room is actually a Timezone, putting the two spaces in direct competition with each other.

Then there’s the Alienware Arena, a big gameplay space for competitive esports tournaments. The hope is that this room will be used to host competitive games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (soon to be Counter-Strike 2) between established esports teams, but obviously, it’s too early for Fortress to confirm any upcoming matches.

the fortress sydney
Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

Between The Arcade and 2315, the Alienware Arena is two stories high. Here’s the view from the balcony on the second floor.

Finally, we have The Telstra Lounge, a great big gaming space filled with Alienware computers where gamers can come and play video games, paying for their computer use by the hour (we’ve reached out to ask how much this could cost a user). It’s also fitted with two streaming booths.

Overall, I’m so excited for this space – each one of these rooms above could make for a fun night out, even if you’re not a gamer, but especially if you love esports, fantasy or sci-fi themes.

Fortress Sydney opens on Saturday, April 8, on the long weekend. It’s located at Central Park shopping centre, across the road from UTS and just a short walk from Central Station.

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