Ever wondered what it might feel like to be on top of a skyscraper, or walk on a plank off the top of a skyscraper?
At Revery VR Bar, you can wear a headset and play a game that stimulates the sensation. This creative concept stakes its claim as the nation’s first full bar to pair virtual reality (VR) technology and top-notch cocktails with cool sophistication. Tucked off Monroe Drive in Midtown, not far from Ponce City Market, the bar was designed as much for those who consider themselves VR experts as much as those who have never tried it.
If you’re imaging everyone wearing headsets at once, think again. Players take turns playing games, making for a very social and hilarious night out, in real life. Co-owner Vincent Wynn II says he and his partner Michael Randolph had been bouncing ideas for a bar around since 2015 before deciding on the concept.
“My partner Michael went to MIT for engineering, and ended up in management consulting for McKinsey & Company for 10 years," Wynn II says. "We are both innovative people, travel often and I’m pretty tech savvy myself, so we wanted to do something that would bring a novel experience to Atlanta.”
Wynn II says Randolph is currently working in Korea, and the duo was inspired by the karaoke rooms or noraebang rooms there. "We loved that idea, but it kind of felt like you’re toning the party down. That’s why we went half Plexiglass [for room dividers], because we wanted everyone to be included in the party. That’s almost what it’s based off of—almost like it’s karaoke, but 2018 karaoke."
They choose VR because they felt there was a missing element from their experiences with the technology: group play. "Seeing your friends freak out, seeing them flip out, seeing them do their ‘Matrix’ movies and all that stuff, that’s really what sold us," Wynn II says.
How does Revery work? Due to popular demand, the bar doesn't take reservations. When you arrive, you can check in at the front with the hostess to request a room, or go straight to the bar for a drink and scope out games before deciding to play. The semi-private game room rentals for up to 5 guests start at $20 for 30 minutes and $40 for a full hour. There are also two larger rooms that hold 10-12 people at $30 for 30 minutes or $60 for 60 minutes. One person plays at a time, while others can see what the player is viewing on the TV. Rentals are currently capped at 2 hours on busy weekends.
The menu of games ranges from first-person shooter games, which Wynn II says are the most popular, and exploratory games (think Google Earth’s street scene) to sports and puzzle-based games. He plans to add at least one new game every 2 week or so to attract repeat customers, and encourages input from guests about what type they most enjoy.
Since opening in December 2017, Wynn II says they already seen repeat customers."Initially I tried to make it, as far as the game selections, equally as much for hard-core gamers as would be an entry-level person," he says. "But our average customer is just a regular Joe or Sally. They just want to come out and do something different."
Wynn II says that a main reason many people haven't had the opportunity to experience VR is due to the technology's price tag. "That’s why it’s such a novel thing," he says. "You have to have very powerful computers. These computers average $1500 a piece, and the headsets anywhere from $500 to $900 a piece. The average Joe isn’t going to want to set up a VR room in his house.” If it is your first time and you wear glasses, Wynn II recommends bringing contacts for comfort if possible.
To complete the Revery VR Bar experience, Wynn II says that it was important to keep the crowd ages 21 and up.
"It was really important to have strong bar concept here, but I didn’t want to compete with the cocktail kings in Atlanta," he says. "I think you alienate people with going too craft."
Their bar uses a draft carbonated cocktail system, which means that they have cocktail sodas that are coming out of the draft like a beer would. Wynn II says the main draw of this on the back-end for this is that the consistency is the same. Every drink is the same every time, and the bartenders are able to serve up quickly, especially when the place gets crowded.
"We still have our chops in the cocktail world," he says. He suggests the Tender Tonic (their riff on the Moscow Mule with vodka, apple-ginger syrup, lime and soda) or the Lou Dog (their nod to a paloma, with infused tequila, agave, lime, grapefruit bitters and salt). The bar also serves a select menu of snacks like gourmet popcorn and beef jerky.
And the bar does get crowded. Wynn II says they have DJs on Thursday through Saturday nights. When people aren't dancing, he says that some people—friends or strangers—end up grouping around rooms, watching people play games.
"It’s a total icebreaker," Wynn II says, adding he's seen guests come on first dates. "You can look dumb. It’s fine."