Games bar to open in York – with table tennis, pinball and arcade machines

Pinball and classic arcade games are part of the mix. Photograph: Julian Lozano / Unsplash
17 Jul 2019 @ 7.06 pm
| Food & drink

A new games bar and restaurant is to open in York city centre, with pool, table tennis and old-school arcade games.

Play House is set to open around the end of the month in Cumberland Street, near the Grand Opera House.

Its owners describe it as a “fun bar, late lounge, American-style pizzeria and kitchen” and say it will be family-friendly.

The business is the brainchild of York residents Andrew Lees and Saban Dogan, inspired by the success of similar venues in Leeds and Manchester.

Somewhere to hang out

The new-look bar on Cumberland Street. Photograph: YorkMix

The building has long been a restaurant, housing Silvano’s for many years until 2008, but the last few businesses on the site, including Jinnah, Reina, Nazar and Cat’s Pyjamas, have all been short lived.

A spokesman for Mr Lees and Mr Dogan told YorkMix:

  • The last few restaurants haven’t done that well there so thought a games bar might do better.

    There will be air hockey, table tennis, pool and other games.

    It’s not going to be just another bar full of big crowds. We want to be somewhere for families and somewhere you can just hang out, but which isn’t just a student place.

The bar has a pending licensing application with City of York Council and the opening hours are still under discussion.

The owners want to be allowed to sell alcohol and play recorded music until 2am, but the council has agreed only to a closing time of 10.30pm so far, the spokesman said.

Police will also be consulted because the venue is inside York’s ‘cumulative impact zone’, which aims to prevent and tackle late-night disorder in the city.

Unadulterated fun

Air hockey and arcade games are promised. Photograph: zhan zhang / Unsplash

The bar’s website states:

  • If you’re looking for a place to have fun and let loose or maybe wind down after a long day at work, we feel you!

    Play House provides the perfect sanctuary for all lovers of the fun & games associated to drinking. We have ping pong, pool, Play House pong. Classic arcade games, casino style slot games such as those you can find at PlayFrank casino and pinball coming soon!

    As for our weekend evenings, expect a night of pure, unadulterated fun with live DJs and music.

It says the menu will include pizzas, burgers, ribs, salads and “York’s hottest wings”.

The site adds: “Life is for living, and that’s why we’re here. Play House Kitchen is a gathering place for families, large groups and the incredibly hungry. We also hold the hangover cure for students.”


Unfortunately, Play Houses’ plans had to be scrapped after they were unable to secure a licence for the venue. The team behind the planned bar and restaurant have stated their disappointment at the decision which has left them ‘tens of thousands of pounds’ out of pocket. 

The City of York Council as well as the North Yorkshire Police objected to plans for the bar to open until 2am at night in an area they considered to be already high in crime levels. It was thought that having an extra bar in the area serving alcohol until 2am would increase crime and anti-social behaviour levels within the area of Cumberland Street.

Richard Thorpe from Playhouse has stated that he will look elsewhere for premises that are already licensed. However, he says that it is a possibility that he will have to look outside of York.