WORCESTER – Don’t look now, but Worcester is on the verge of a very specific renaissance within the City’s nightlife and entertainment scene.
What’s trending right now in Worcester is arcade bars — part bar and restaurant, part entertainment lounge and gamers haven.
In the latest addition to future Worcester video game bars, Save Point Tavern has its sights set on opening as early as July on Highland St. in Worcester.
Save Point Tavern, according to owner Brian Huff, will be a bar that gives its customers the opportunity to play old, classic games that you can’t buy or find anymore — plus play brand new games that you haven’t bought yet.
“As a gamer, I always want to try out a game before I have to commit to buying it. So having a spot where I can go and play games that I do like and go to a place where I can have fun and socialize with like-minded people sounds great to me,” Huff said in an interview with ThisWeekinWorcester.com [TWIW] on Thursday, May 9.
“At Save Point, you won’t have to worry about whether or not you’ve played a certain game or if you haven’t tried a new game yet, but you want to try it before you buy it — we are going to have them all — both classics and brand new,” Huff added.
ThisWeekinWorcester.com has previously reported that two other video game and arcade bars — All Systems Go on Shrewsbury St. and Pixels & Pints on Grafton St. — are likely opening up before the end of the year.
Huff, originally from West Palm Beach, Florida, and now a resident of Clinton, has been in the hotel business for 18 years and is the director of food and beverage with a major hotel company. He will own and run Save Point Tavern with his wife, Kat Huff.
“My career has always been food and beverage-based. I’ve always had an idea in my mind as a gamer — somewhere I can go and relax and still socialize. There’s plenty of places around to go and watch football, there’s never been a designated spot to have beers and play games. And I wanted to be the person to bring that,” Huff said.
Huff told TWIW that he’s an avid gamer and he’s had the idea for Save Point Tavern since he moved to Massachusetts six years ago.
How Huff got to the Bay State is an interesting story on its own.
“Being in Florida all my life, I wanted to see a big city. I wanted to get out. I packed my car with everything I had and flipped a coin to decide where I would go — one side New York, the other side Massachusetts,” Huff said.
“Massachusetts won the coin toss, which worked out well because I’m a huge [New England] Patriots fan,” he continued. “I lived in my car for two months while I was trying to find a job and a place to live. Found a job, met my wife and here we are.”
The job ultimately brought him to Central Massachusetts and to the point today where Huff looks to combine his nearly two decades of work experience with his passion: gaming.
“My group of gamer friends and I always tried figuring out whose house we were going to go to to hang out. With a central spot like [Save Point], you avoid all of that conversation and it makes it easier to get together and have a great time, great food and great beverages,” Huff said.
During the interview, Huff was unable to tell TWIW the exact location of Save Point Tavern due to contractual arrangements. However, a search on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Corporations Database shows that the bar will open at 57 Highland St. — the current home of Grille 57.
The full kitchen currently in place at the existing bar and restaurant will allow the Huffs to concoct their “tapas style, artisanal gamer food.”
These game-inspired menu items will include a selection of flat bread pizzas, open toasts, pizza bagels and their own corn dogs made from scratch with a lot of “sexy” sauces to go with it.
Save Point Tavern will also feature a full liquor bar [they’re waiting on liquor license to transfer over] with specialty, gamer-themed cocktails and local craft beers.
“This is not a place where you can come and just get a Bud Light,” Huff said.
Along with the food and drink options, Huff said the overall focus will be on the gamer and creating a place for the “nerd gaming-community” with theme nights and events like ‘Marvel Comics Night’ and ‘Game of Thrones Night.’
Even the name — “Save Point” — is a gaming term. Save points are locations within a game world at which a player can decide to save his or her progress. The bar’s slogan is “Take a pause in life’s game!”
There are roughly 50 parking spaces available to the future Save Point customers, and the Huffs are hoping that their customers will save their progress in the parking lot and stay a while.
Huff said, “We’re not interested in turning tables. It’s a cover charge to get in and you can stay as long as you want. We really want to have that environment where you’re in a social setting and you’re out doing something, but you’re as comfortable there as where you would typically game at home or at a friends house.”
Save Point Tavern is eyeing a possible opening during the last week of July or second week of August. The hours will be Weds. and Thurs. 4 PM to 12 AM, Fri and Sat. 4 PM to 2 AM, and Sunday 4 PM to 10 PM. They will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. The bar will be located at 57 Highland St in Worcester.
Lead photo: Rendering of Save Point Tavern Location with Logo on Sign
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