Let's just get the "Beers of War" joke out of the way now. OK. Here is the story...
Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski doesn't just make video games. Following his exit from Epic Games in 2012, he opened a restaurant/bar in his home town of Raleigh, North Carolina, and plans to set up another establishment in the city in 2015. All of this is happening as Bleszinski also gets to work at his new game studio, Boss Key Productions, which recently announced its first game--a free-to-play shooter currently called Project Bluestreak to be published by Nexon.
As reported by Men's Journal, Bleszinski opened the watering hole--called The Station at Person Street--earlier this year. It's been open for a few months now, and is described as a "modern take on a 1910 Amoco gas station." In fact, The Station was built on the exact location of an Amoco gas station. The image at left shows what the establishment looked like then and now.
The bar serves plenty of popular beers and local brews. There is also a food selection with pretty much everything you'd expect. Bleszinski opened The Station with his friend Niall Hanley, a man Bleszinski says is like a big brother when it comes to learning how to run a business.
Bleszinski said he got the idea to open his own restaurant a few years back while having a meal in New York City. "This restaurant looked like chaos and then I realized everything is just systems," Bleszinski said. "The video game is systems that are operating together that the player manipulates. One thing I've learned about the restaurant business is to keep an eye on your ticket times and keep an eye on your customers. Make sure they're happy. If something's messed up, give them a free dessert, etc. And one of the other rules I've learned is keep an eye on the bathroom. Because if the bathroom is not clean, that kitchen sure as hell isn't."
Bleszinski visits The Station from time to time to check up on things and further immerse himself in the food business. But he's not limiting himself to The Station alone. In spring 2015, Bleszinski plans to open a second bar/restaurant business called The Raleigh Beer Garden.
This establishment will be three times the size of The Station and have more than 300 draft beers available. You can also expect this pub to have some geek flair.
"I want to make sure that the Beer Garden has a bit of a geek influence," Bleszinski said. "We'll have a couple of old school arcade games and some pinball machines to have that geek DNA. West Coast Barcades are absolutely huge, so we hope to have a little bit of that with 350 beers on draft and a great outdoor space for people to enjoy a pint on a nice Raleigh 80-degree day."
Bleszinski is not the first video game developer with professional ties to beer. After retiring from BioWare in 2012, studio co-founder Greg Zeschuk launched a craft beer-inspired web video series called The Beer Diaries.