Bartari, Saskatoon’s first videogame restaurant and bar, recently celebrated its one-year anniversary with the addition of all-ages weekend afternoons.

Before I continue, allow me to hammer that point home – Bartari is a legitimate 19+ bar, except for Saturday and Sunday afternoons, when, from 11am to 4pm, kids of all ages are welcome and alcohol is not for sale.

Bartari is awesome. The inside of Bartari looks like something you would have seen in a Cory Mathews daydream on an old episode of Boy Meets World: wall to wall retro video game consoles armed with thousands of original game cartridges.

Sega Genesis, Super Nintendos…ORIGINAL Nintendos…even Ataris! All ready to be played on the wall-mounted TV’s at the end of every table.

Bartari video game fun in Saskatoon

When my 10 year old son and I walk into Bartari- some serious Freaky Friday stuff goes down and we immediately change places. Judge all you want, but I’ll freely admit…some days….when I’m 15 minutes deep into my son’s recent thesis on why hording diamonds is counterproductive in Minecraft…. I zone out a little. At Bartari, the tables are turned!

While my son has a strong appreciation for the technology that came before his time, make no mistake about it – these games contain MY stories and I have the stage.

Bartari video game fun in Saskatoon

Just the smooth familiarity of the controllers unearth dormant memories from my childhood… beating Super Mario 3 for the first time…numbly playing Mortal Kombat all weekend after having my heart shattered for the first time…and slamming my controller in unbridled anger when my best friend Neil would beat me inStreet Fighter 2 by doing nothing but throwing fireballs and then hitting me with an uppercut when I finally jumped one. (the absolute cheapest way to win in Street Fighter 2)

Bartari is exactly what it should be, and after adding the all-ages hours, it became exactly what I need it to be- a video game middle ground for my son and I.

As we go from game to game, he finds my excitement contagious and I marvel at how quickly he takes to these classic cartridges. I know video game controllers these days are wireless and have like…54 buttons or whatever, but it’s pretty humbling how effortlessly he glides through some of these older games that I warned him were “difficult”.

Bartari video game fun in Saskatoon

Then it happens. We pop in Street Fighter 2, and I’m no longer humbled…I’m downright embarrassed. Embarrassed at how, despite playing this game for the first time ever, my son is able to predict my limited offense. He smiles with one corner of his mouth and raises his eyebrows at me as the assault on my loyal 16-bit warrior, Ryu continues. I smile back at him and silently thank Bartari for facillitating this crazy collision of my past and present……and then I start throwing fireballs and hit him with an uppercut as soon as he jumps one.

Bartari Contact Info:

Telephone: (306) 261-8534
Address: 511 20th Street West Saskatoon, SK
Kid-friendly Hours: Saturday and Sunday 11am-4pm