The Four Quarters – a popular bar with a winning combination of nostalgic arcade games and craft beer – has made itself a second home at Here East. In London Living fashion, we welcomed them with one of our London Grilling’s – we caught up with Francois Kitching, Director at Four Quarters, to find out what they have in store for us.
Image: The Four Quarters East
How did the idea to open an arcade bar come about?
For me, it was a project I’d dreamt about for years, originally inspired by Tokyo’s gaming cafe’s after a visit to Japan in the early 00’s. I used to have a business ideas notebook, which I kept for years in my previous working life and the one idea I kept going back to was a retro gaming bar. Delivering a fully realised arcade bar would not be a straightforward project and I shelved the idea until I met my future business partners, who had exactly the same idea and a bunch of different skills and knowledge that were all needed to create what became Four Quarters.
What can someone expect when they come to Four Quarters East?
Four Quarters East manages to marry two well realised concepts together. It is an excellent bar and a great arcade rolled into one. We have games suitable for all ages and focus on titles that are fun to play for short bursts and ideally in pairs or groups. We have original arcade games from the 80’s and 90’s as well as games consoles such as the Super Nintendo and Sega Megadrive, which are set up in bookable booths! Our bar is incredibly well stocked with 12 lines of craft beer and an extensive cocktail menu, designed by our in house expert mixologist.
What is your signature drink at Four Quarters East?
I wouldn’t say we have one! We serve so many great cocktails that it’s hard to pick out an individual drink. Our Gin Basil Smash simply combines Sipsmith Gin with fresh basil and lime, it is the perfect summer cocktail, whilst Donkey Kong’s Tropical Punch combines white and spiced rum with lime juice, a secret blend of aromatic bitters and Red Bull tropical, it’s a really fun drink and emphasises the more light-hearted end of our cocktail menu.
What is your favourite game at Four Quarters East?
Right now I’d have to say our dedicated Street fighter II – Hyper Fighting arcade machine. It’s just such an iconic game and continually draws a crowd of people ready to throw fireballs at each other. On the console booths, I’ve recently improved our Gamecube collection and for a bit of casual four player fun you can’t beat Super Monkey Ball or Sega Soccer Slam.
Does Four Quarters East differ from the original bar in Peckham at all?
It sure does – generally the fit out of the bar is of a higher quality but we do retain the same stripped back industrial feel, with a brick built bar and exposed metalwork. Our Peckham site has a lot more late-night activity with DJ’s until 2am most weekends. We’re currently developing our day time offering at Four Quarters East to include coffee and pastries, cakes, sandwiches and snacks. The idea is to be a bar/cafe in the morning and afternoon which changes into a serious cocktail bar in the evening.
Will you still be hosting movie nights at Four Quarters East?
Absolutely – We plan to show cult movies from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s every Sunday evening, starting in around a month. We are highly likely to come up with themed drinks and food specials to complement each screening too!
On the subject of events, keep your eyes on our Facebook page, we’ve got plans for a regular pop culture quiz and the occasional comedy night.
What made you give the bar an American theme?
I don’t think that we consciously themed the bar around anything other than videogames. The use of US Quarters was a great alternative to fabricating tokens and the industrial look was just the aesthetic we felt fit. But I do see why people would say we are American themed.
What makes Here East the perfect location for The Four Quarters East?
We loved the ethos of Here East as a project from the start. The idea of a new creative hub for start-up and tech businesses seemed a perfect fit for what we have to offer. We are really excited for the opening of Plexal and can’t wait to meet some of the innovators who will be working upstairs. We’d love to collaborate on small projects, host product launch parties, industry talks, game jams, you name it! We also absolutely love being by the canal when the sun is out.
It sounds like there are a lot of exciting plans ahead for Four Quarters East that are sure to make this bar an even bigger success. We just can’t wait for our next trip to Here East – we’re sure it will be for one of those late night DJ sessions or themed movie nights! Take a trip down to Canalside, Here East, Hackney Wick E20 3BS London, to check out their new location and follow them on Facebook to hear what exciting events they have going on.
Let us know if you have visited The Four Quarters East and what you thought in the comments below.