Meltdown Bordeaux, busy, laid back and daily tournaments, it’s fun!
The Meltdown chain started in Paris by a group of friends. After organizing World of Warcraft tournaments in different local bars they decided they might as well open their own bar and so the story began. Meltdown turned out to be very successful and soon others wanted to open their own Meltdown in other cities. The Meltdowns worldwide all have the same style and are part of the Meltdown network and the benefits that brings. Especially the network makes up for the obvious amount you need to pay to be allowed to use the Meltdown brand. Being part of a network brings more knowledge (so less risk in doing things wrong), gives a proven success formula, gets you the marketing advantages and you benefit from the sponsors. The only downside, if you can call it a downside, is that you’re not entirely free to do your own thing. However, if you like what Meltdown stands for, why would you want to do that anyway. On the other hand, giving your own identity to your bar also seems important. I asked Laurent how he has found that balance.
Meltdown Bordeaux is run by Laurent, a super nice and super busy 32 year old that has been gaming since he was 4. Not 14, but 4! He has a degree in Finance (yes, another bar owner with a university degree😊) and was an investment banker in London. He explained that although all Meltdowns have the same set up in appearance and activities, it’s the country’s and city’s identity that make the bar personal. Each bar needs to give the customers what they expect, but each country and city have different expectations. In that way you make your bar your own.
In Laurent’s case, it turned out to be a very laidback Hardrock/rock esportsbar. Laurent likes Hardrock and there’re a lot of Hardrock customers around. Of course the question rises if you exclude customers that are not into that kind of music or, the other way around, you attract customers that normally wouldn’t come, because of the music. It’s a bit of both. Each employee plays his/her own music style, so for instance on Wednesday it could be dubstep, but the music played is more about setting the mood. Music is not the main attraction, but does set the atmosphere and if the person that’s working that day plays his favorite music, his/her good vibes spread out through the bar. Also, Laurent finds that the esports community is more into extreme music than others. Hardrock, dubstep, edm, trap are all sorts of music gamers prefer over mainstream top 40 songs.
Meltdown Bordeaux has daily tournaments in different games, like all other Meltdowns. The reason the bar is always packed is because there’s an almost 50% balance between non gamers that just like the bar and never play a game and gamers who come to the different tournaments. Hosting so many different games assures you of a wide variety of gamers, which is a smart set up. Add the streaming of all the major tournaments (as almost every esportsbar does) and you have full house every day.
The people that come to Laurent’s bar all seem to be really dedicated to what’s going on. The second day I was there, the theme was Wild Wild West and just look at the pics. I’ve spend 3 nights at the bar, saw a lot of returning customers and personnel that’s very involved. The bar is in a constant nice chaotic state. There are shoutcasters for the 2 events that take place that night. People that are in a tournament and having a break are outside smoking and socializing, but in the mean time their turn is up again. Because of the air conditioning, the doors are closed, so this is what happens: shoutcaster 1 is calling for, let’s say Pierre, through his mic. ‘Pierre, where are you. Pierre, Pierre!’ No answer, cause Pierre is outside. Shoutcaster 2 in the back corner takes over the search. ‘Pierre, it’s your turn, we’re looking for Pierre!’ Still no Pierre. The customers decide to help and are all calling for Pierre now. After 5 minutes of Pierre calling someone decides he can’t be anywhere else but outside, so the doors open and a loud ‘Pierre, you’re up’ follows. The whole terrace knows where Pierre is and calls him. Pierre has just lit another cigarette and is in a conversation, says he’s coming, but that takes another minute or so, cause he needs to finish his sentence, take another puff of his cigarette, finish his drink, rearrange his holster and gun (wild wild west theme) and talk to someone else on his way in. After 10 minutes, the tournament can continue.
Meltdown Bordeaux is a fun place to go to and Laurent has succeeded in giving the bar his own identity. Right in the middle of the city’s shopping center it’s a stop worth while!
View Laurent’s interview here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/165433623