Geek Retreat opens new gaming cafe and shop in Sunderland city centre

A once empty city centre unit is set to be a haven for fans of gaming.

Monday, 19th April 2021, 4:17 pm

The Geek Retreat chain of gaming cafes has a huge following across the country, and now Sunderland has its own cafe for all things geeky – from games and superhero movies to anime and sci-fi.

Partners Stewart Brass and Laura Green have taken on the franchise of the first Wearside branch of the cafe, meaning fans no longer have to travel to Newcastle or Middlesbrough to get their fix.

The new business, which has created five new jobs and potentially more, has transformed a once empty unit in John Street and is open now for card games, video games, board games, graphic novels, comic books, milkshakes and American snacks, with gaming facilities open from May 17 when sit-in is permitted.

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New Sunderland Geek Retreat cafe on John Street. Couple owners Laura Green and Stewart Brass.

Stewart said: “The response already on social media has been great as a lot of customers at the Newcastle branch were from Sunderland. “They seem happy they can do gaming without having to travel now. There was definitely a gap in the market here.”

Once it can open fully, the cafe has capacity for 64 seated and people will be able to take part in tabletop role play games and card games as well as taking part in official tournaments with brands such as Pokemon and Dungeons and Dragons.

Visitors can also look forward to comic book signings, arcade machines, quizzes and more.

The venue also caters for people with autism and will be holding autism-friendly afternoons in the future.

New Sunderland Geek Retreat cafe on John Street.

Stewart said: “The Geek Retreats are often popular with people with autism and they’re seen as a safe, friendly place for people to play and trade.”

The Geek Retreat is the latest new business to open at this side of the town, which has seen a swathe of investment in recent months.

Other new businesses include CoffeeHaus, which has also opened in John Street, Spent Grain restaurant which is due to open in John Street soon and a range of independent businesses which have opened their doors as part of the renaissance of the historic Mackie’s Corner site.

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New Sunderland Geek Retreat cafe on John Street.

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The cafe sells a range of American candy
The cafe is currently open for retail only
There's a range of gaming merchandise available