Zaps: Retro Arcade Bar
Retro Arcade Bar | Coming to Bournemouth in 2018


Things we write.

Alright stop! Re-calibrate and Listen.

Strictly speaking that isn’t the order in which we did things but it’s hard to resist a Vanilla Ice based pun.


As you may be aware we recently did a little market research. A big thank you to everybody who took part, we had a great response in a very short space of time. The survey was part of a reflective exercise that we were undertaking following some questions with starting up at our proposed location in Bournemouth. 

Rewinding back a few years, our original plan for Zaps was a modest proposition. It was a simple bar/micro-pub setup with some craft-beer options, a few choices for snacks and those all important arcade machines. We were looking to create the kind of place that we would want to hang out in ourselves.

Fast forward to 2018 and we had found a great location in central Bournemouth. With it came all of these extra ideas that had popped up along the way. We were now discussing selling premium coffee, offering two types of food menus, hiring a team of staff and opening hours that covered all day everyday. Zaps had gradually moved away from the original plan into a vision that was far more grand.

This caused a problem. Zaps had grown into this huge thing that was too much for a couple of guys who had never done anything like this before. We realised that financially we would struggle to stay open for very long whilst we waited for the cash flow to kick into gear. We decided to stop, listen to the feedback from the market research and re-calibrate our strategy (see, the title above kinda made sense after all).

So where does this leave Zaps?

Well, we can confirm that we are not setting up at Gervis Place in Bournemouth. We know a lot of people were excited for this. We were too. Believe us when we say that this was not a decision that we took lightly. Unfortunately setting Zaps up at Gervis Place proposed a huge financial commitment that would put us at quite a lot of risk. In the end we had to take a step back and be sure that it was the best choice and sadly it wasn't.

So what happens next?

Right now we are looking into alternative locations for a more modest setup. We’ve still got a number of arcade machines that need refurbishing so that’s also keeping us busy in the meantime. Going from the survey results we know that you guys are hugely passionate about the retro arcade games. We very much are too so that is the foundation we are building on going forward. It's going to take a few months longer for Zaps to become a reality but in the end we hope we can bring you an experience that you will really enjoy. 

A few months?

Unfortunately yes. Looking for a new location means that we have to start over in terms of Licensing & Planning applications. These are processes that come with their own rigid timescales. It also means another round of fees & costs that will eat into our already diminished resources. We understand if you’re disappointed about this. For what it’s worth we are too. We were looking forward to becoming a unique prospect in Bournemouth that could be enjoyed by all ages and backgrounds whatever the weather.

We're heading back to the drawing board. In the meantime, keep an eye out on the website and our social media channels. As soon as we know what the next step is we'll let you know. 

Paul Carr