For East Downtown Video Game Bar, Kickstarter Fundraising Attempt Is Game Over

With an entertaining, droll video (see above), a close-to-Downtown location already picked out, and a “first ever in Houston” concept, the fundraising effort for the Press Start Bar seemed to have a lot going for it. Alas, the Kickstarter game plan for the planned console-videogame-themed nightspot has failed to reach its high-score goal. After 30 days on the crowdfunding platform, the crew garnered $18,483 in pledges from 81 different backers. That’s impressive for a first try at the controls, but a bit shy of the stated $50,000 its founders said they needed to secure the proposed location — “off Rusk and St. Emanuel” (between the 59 overpass and BBVA Compass Stadium) — obtain building permits, and get started with TABC licensing, to be able to serve craft beers and Pokemon-themed cocktails, among other menu items.


“The idea was born when Ryan and I were coming out of one of those arcade game bars,” thumbs-a-twitching founder Cindy Thauburn explains in the video, “and he was complaining about the amount of machines that were out of order.

“I don’t know what I was thinking,” responds her husband, comedian Ryan Thauburn. “Expensive machines in the hands of drunk people? “It’s madness.”

“So I told him I think a better idea would be to use consoles,” continues Cindy Thauburn, a level 90 Human Priest in World of Warcraft. “Controllers are easier to replace, and that way I could play GoldenEye or Halo.”

In one portion of the video the Thauburns detail what they would do with funds raised in excess of their $50K goal. But a note posted this afternoon on the Press Start Facebook page suggests that the team (which also includes bartender Hannah Weir), might push the restart button on its crowdfunding efforts after the failure, “with maybe a little lower goals.” It concludes: “Fear not! We are still proceeding forward and WILL make this bar a reality.”

Video: Press Start Bar

Press Restart

9 Comment

  • I would go for a HALO tourney. This sounds like an awesome idea!

  • Well, console controllers may be “easier to replace” but they still aren’t cheap, and they’re way less durable than their arcade counterparts.

    And $50k in 30 days is a bit of a steep order, unfortunately.

  • From a business plan perspective, how do you milk money out of people who are completely concentrating on a TV screen for hours at a time? They won’t even have a free hand for drinking beer or eating food. Not sure how that would be profitable.

  • Crowdfunding is out of control at this point.. Why on earth would I kick in money so you can build a place where I go to spend more money? Get a loan from a bank..

  • I can imagine if food and beer are involved, those controllers are going to get really filthy, really fast. And while I don’t think that “crowdfunding is out of control”, they’re expecting to raise nearly $1700 a day, which is extremely difficult. If they took the money that they got, and got a loan of $30k, they might be able to make it work.

  • There’s already a video game bar downtown – Joystix – as well as another bar (Neil’s) right next to Warehouse Live (where these folks are targeting) that you can drink and play games on consoles at. Lack of research may be contributing to the lack of funding…

  • High hopes for a Kickstarter. They should just get some investors, or a bank loan. Although, if strangers want to just give you free money for you to open a for-profit business, and a bar no less, well then more power to you.

  • @Spirit

    Kickstarter is all or nothing, they can’t take any of the money that was ‘raised’ as they didn’t hit the goal. A smaller goal for a longer time would have made more sense. That is if giving someone your money so they can open a for-profit business without getting any return made sense in the first place.

  • First time concept in houston? barcadia? kung fu? not a first time concept, don’t get me wrong sounds like it has a slightly different twist and it does sound cool, but not the first to do it. oh and what about 1820+joystix pretty much right across the street from here they use to, not sure if still do, have a door that opens to the arcade and its a huge arcade. i do wish this place would have happened though, i just bought a house less than a half a mile from here and would definitely go