The Rec Room opened at Masonville Place on the second floor of the former Target on April 30, bringing Canada’s premier “eats & entertainment hot spot” to London.
Owned by Cineplex Entertainment with four other locations in Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto, The Rec Room targets millennials and young families and aims to be “the place to let go, be playful and experience something new and exciting.”
We grabbed a table at THREE10, the Rec Room’s sit-down restaurant.
Similar in style to chains such as Moxie’s or Milestones, THREE10 is named after the three territories and ten provinces and features Canadian inspired cuisine. The room is surrounded by large screen TVs and is centred around a large bar.
In a day and age where most people are on their phones, even when out for dinner, the environment at The Rec Room is so stimulating that there was barely a phone in sight, with many other diners watching the TVs and laughing and chatting.
To start, we ordered two appetizers – the Giant Pretzel and the Wood-Fired Olives (Note: didn’t try the olives). The pretzel was warm, soft, and chewy with the perfect amount of salt. It is served with two dipping sauces, a beer cheese sauce like an adult version of cheese whiz and a sharp mustard and dill ranch.
For my entrée, I ordered the fried chicken caesar sandwich with fries. The sandwich contains hand-breaded chicken, roasted soleggiati tomatoes, romaine, Parmigiano Reggiano, house caesar dressing on a brioche bun. A messy sandwich for the hungry visitor wanting to fuel up before arcades.
It wasn’t the best chicken sandwich I’ve had, but I loved the fries. House-cut, crispy and salty, they are just what you want in a side of fries.
The service was quick and friendly, and our server was quick to answer questions about the menu and make suggestions.
Their drink menu is expansive, with unique Canadian-themed cocktails, such as “Snow Bird Punch” and “Northbound.” In addition to THREE10, The Rec Room also features a counter service called THE SHED that offers Poutine, donuts, and beverages (adult and kid-friendly) that you can enjoy while walking through the arcade.
After dinner, we headed over to the main event – the arcade.
Unlike the arcades I grew up with where you needed copious amounts of quarters to keep the good times going, The Rec Room sells wristbands with RFID technology that lets you to simply tap and play, allowing players to quickly load and reload funds as they wish.
The arcade space was loud, bright, and animated as one would expect.
Overwhelming to the senses at first, the comprehensive range of options makes it hard to decide where to start first. Do I test my musical chops on the Grand Piano Keys, try my hand at Mario Kart, or play a round of the life-sized time-ticking game of Perfection?
I was a fan of their many, many motorcycle or driving games (including one that requires a seatbelt!) where I crashed too many times to count, making me wonder how I ever got my license.
My pinball crown was tested by a pair of modern machines that are Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy-themed. The game hasn’t changed much, but the flashing screens and film clips were an added bonus.
My favourite game would have to be Down the Clown where you throw balls to knock down stuffed clowns that loudly mock you when you miss, allowing me to get out some of the pent-up aggression I didn’t even know I harboured towards clowns.
With all the options in games, plus VR, axe throwing, ping pong, karaoke, and live entertainment, The Rec Room has something for everyone!