Afterlife Barcelona, real life in afterhours!
Afterlife Barcelona is an esportscafé without pc’s or PlayStations, yet it’s an esportscafé. It has 1 pc in a corner for the real desperate people, but other than that, there’re no possibilities to play any sort of games. This bar has 1 purpose, namely to experience the joy of watching a game. The people that visit the bar do so on 1 of the 4 big screens or 4 tv’s where various live games or tournaments world wide are shown. Sometimes they bring their own laptop and sit at the bar or one of the tables and watch with a group of friends, it doesn’t matter, the bar is about being together, loving esports.
Owned by 5 people, 2 couples and 1 business angel, it’s the only esportscafé in Barcelona (+/- 6 mln inhabitants). The couples wanted to start an esportsbar because they were basically tired of watching a game at home on a tiny screen with bad beer. They figured if they want to go out and watch a game, more people would. However, Spain is a country in financial crisis and finding a loan to finance an esportscafé seemed impossible. This is where the business angel comes in. He is a man (a magician actually) in the beginning of his 60-ies who had never heard of esports before. At the time, the European finals of League of Legends was happening in Madrid and they took him there. He instantly saw the magic and possibilities and helped them set up the bar. Despite the crisis, the bar (1,5 years after the opening in September 2015) is already profitable. Teresa says they owe a lot to the gaming public in Barcelona. They keep bringing new gamers to the bar every day.
I asked Teresa if they didn’t find it a risk to open an esportscafé without the option of gaming. Her answer goes to show that what you love will be successful. Teresa and her friends love watching games together. She herself started out playing LoL and soon found she didn’t have as much time to play as she wanted to, so she began watching games instead of playing. During these games her admiration for the gamers and what they can do grew and grew. (You can compare it with a soccer fan watching his/her favorite player.) The respect for the gamers and the joy of watching them make it unnecessary to be able to play yourself (at the bar). This is the bar’s philosophy. Just like in a traditional sportsbar, you watch a soccer game but there’s no soccer field in the bar itself.
Teresa says it’s also important that having no pc’s enlarges the possibility to interact with others. Instead of being occupied with your computer, you make friends. The people that come to Afterlife all love esports. When you sit at the bar and hear the person next to you talk about a game, you can just join the conversation. This is not possible in other (non esports) bars, which explains the increase in the demand for esportsbars. Esports has become a social way to spent time together and share the same interests. Sometimes you will want to go out to a regular bar, have a drink, meet people in general. Other times you will want to go to an esportsbar, have a drink, meet other gamers. 5 Years ago, you would have had a hard time finding such a bar, but the current demand and therefor rise in esportsbars make it easier day by day.
Afterlife is the first bar I’ve been to that has no pc’s and yet is highly successful. Again, it’s about love for esports and making friends and it proves that there’s no standard formula for an esportsbar. It’s about how you see esports and the way you love esports that you carry out to your customers. That belief makes your bar successful. Afterlife’s name has been chosen because you have your normal life in which you have to do all that needs to be done (work, kids, life in general) and then there’s the real life, the life you love and enjoy, the afterlife!
PS: did I mention yet that Teresa has a university degree? She’s a biologist!
You can watch the interview with Teresa here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/162382444
You can watch part 2 of the interview here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/162382815
for some reason I made some really shitty pics at Afterlife, sorry about that. Many vids will be uploaded soon though!