Fortress claims the title of Australia’s largest video game and esports venue. It also holds the dubious distinction of opening on Friday the 13th of March in 2020. (A truly unlucky coincidence for a giant venue in the CBD). Spanning 2.5 levels and 29,000 square feet, the facility includes a LAN lounge, themed tavern, arcade, steaming booths, private party rooms, and an arena that can seat 200. Fortress was created with the goal of being a gaming venue for everybody. The facility is wheelchair accessible and offers male, female, and gender neutral bathrooms. Video games are central to Fortress’ offerings, and if you’re new to gaming the staff members are there to help provide guidance for confirmed noobs like myself. There’s also an old-school arcade with space invaders and air hockey for those who prefer more nostalgic hands-on games. In the tavern visitors can join friends in a booth for multiplayer video games, or alternately take a seat by the virtual fireplace and check out the library of board games including the likes of Code Names, Exploding Kittens, and Jenga. On Sundays Fortress runs Dungeons and Flagons, a beginner-friendly Dungeons & Dragons experience that includes a dungeon master to help facilitate the game. Pub staples, familiar beers, and themed cocktails fuel the action. (We suggest the Bootes’ Gamble cocktail for a smoky surprise.) And if you’re playing in the LAN Lounge, food can be ordered directly to your desk. Fortress managed to secure a 24 hour licence for the venue (colour us impressed). It’s not in use yet (thanks covid). But plans are in the works for hosting viewing parties in USA and EU time zones. Plus the TPO team is always keen to discover unique venues for those super late nights in the Melbourne CBD.
Stop by on Thursdays for free gaming-themed movies, get a group of friends together for free board games on Wednesdays, or practice your Fortnite floss moves over the school holidays (the venue is open to under 18s until 8pm). You can also keep an eye out for a Harry Potter inspired house cup tournament. Or host your own event in the Alienware Arena — a space that offers grand-stand seating for up to 200. We applaud the founders’ attempt to share their love of gaming with everyone and look forward to hearing more about their upcoming events. Game On.
Jenny S. is an event adventurer who is spending her time sampling craft beers, sipping creative cocktails, and dreaming about using her passport to travel internationally (and not just when she’s crossing the Yarra).
Fortress Melbourne is now open seven days a week. Follow their events calendar for reoccurring and one-off events.
Emporium Shopping Centre, Melbourne CBD
After hours access via 23 Caledonian Lane