The latest trend of entertainment-based hospitality has almost been single-handedly pioneered in Brisbane by the team at Fun-Lab. The group’s portfolio – which boasts the likes of Strike Bowling, Sky Zone, Holey Moley Golf Club and B. Lucky & Sons – is a testament to the brand’s knack for crafting interactive concepts, with locations sprouting up in every capital city along the east coast (not to mention a few locations across the Tasman in New Zealand). The newest Fun-Lab brand to arrive in Brisbane is Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq, a circus-meets-bar that officially opens today, Thursday November 14. The institution (which already boasts locations Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland) is one of the marquee tenants at the brand-new dining playground UPSTAIRS at Toombul, which looks to establish a new inner-north hub for a broad selection of eateries. Archie Brothers aims to reinvent the carnival experience of yesteryear, where entire neighbourhoods would come out en masse to take in the sights, sounds and smells of the travelling amusement park. Put aside your antiquated aspersions of ‘carnival folk’ and rigged sideshow games – Archie Brothers brings the funfair concept into the 21st Century, with a cutting-edge array of contemporary arcade games mixed with a modern take on nostalgia-inducing attractions.
Like its sibling concepts Holey Moley and B. Lucky & Sons, the newly minted interior of Archie Brothers Toombul is a vivid and energetic wonderland of light and sound. Guests enter via the main entrance at the UPSTAIRS outdoor courtyard, making their way past shelves of prizes to load up their keycard with funds for the games beyond. Your best bet is to start at the bar at the centre and then work your way outward. It will only take a quick circuit of the venue to catch on to the fact that this isn’t your run-of-the-mill arcade – in addition to wall-to-wall games consoles, Archie Brothers boasts a regulation-sized bowling alley, a fully operational bumper cars set up and the top-of-the-line Thrillrider 3D experience (think of it as an interactive cinema where the seats move with the action). If you consider yourself pretty handy at games, Archie Brothers has plenty of options to test your skill, from Mario Kart and NBA Hoops to Dance Dance Revolution and Virtual Rabbids. Sideshow-style games and old-school faves are also on hand for the nostalgia lovers out there, while numerous claw machines are stocked with plush prizes to take home – if you can snag one, that is! The Fun-Lab game curators regularly take trips to gaming conventions in the United States to test all the latest arcade cabinets, so guests can expect new games to pop in every six months. Archie Brothers also boasts a set of private function rooms that you can hire for birthdays or work parties, though we hazard a guess that most of your time will still be spent out on the gaming floor.
The food and drink
Once you’ve worked up an appetite conquering the various arcade games, turn to Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq’s Dazzler’s Diner menu to recharge your fuel cells with a feed. The grub here is a tasty blend of American diner fare and sideshow snacks, starting with signatures like The Beast Burger (beef patty, bacon, pulled pork, tomato, cheese, pickles, Texas barbecue sauce on a red bun) and segueing through mouth-watering options like The Pig Dog (cheese kransky wiener, hand-pulled pork, cheddar cheese, bacon, slaw and sauce on a crusty white bun), Ferris Wheeler (a mixed spread of mac’n’cheese bites, spicy chicken wings, tater tots, sweet-potato fries and beer-battered steak fries), and various pizzas and desserts. Over at the bar, parched patrons can sip tap beers, wines and signature cocktails, but it’s the loaded shakes that’ll most likely draw the eye. The Candy Stand (strawberry shake with vanilla-frosted rim, giant lollipop, candy kebab, whipped cream and sprinkles), Schnapps Crackle & Pop (cinnamon whisky, butterscotch schnapps, bitters, maple and popcorn syrup, soda, whipped cream and popcorn garnish) and the Mint Magic (Jameson’s Irish Whisky, crème de cacao, Menthe Verte, vanilla ice-cream, milk, chocolate drops, topped with whipped cream and an Aero bar) are stand-outs.
Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq opens today, Thursday November 14. For opening hours and contact details, head to the Stumble Guide.