View from the street of ground floor shop units at 106 New Oxford Street, Bloomsbury, London.
106 New Oxford Street. Photo: Fitzrovia News.

Platform Soho Limited has applied to Camden Council for a new premises licence for a competitive socialising bar for gamers on the ground and basement of 106 New Oxford Street.

The company is behind two other social gaming venues, in Shoreditch and Canary Wharf, where people can play games on computer consoles. They can also enjoy pizza and drinks in their gaming booths.

Competitive socialising is a growing trend in hospitality, aiming to give people a “fun atmosphere” to pit their wits against each other in activities such as video games, sports or escape room games.

Company boss and gaming fan Nicolo Portunato recently told the Beyond the Game podcast he planned to open a new venue in London. He said he wanted to “show that video games are cool” and gaming is “the biggest entertainment on the planet”.

London has proved to be a resilient market, he said, and aimed to offer an “inclusive place, accessible, cool and a bit private” for people to enjoy gaming.

The company’s existing premises are busier with the after-work crowd. Customers pay for a 90-minute session for a console with a selection of games.

The application seeks permission to serve alcohol to drink on the premises from 11am to 11.30pm Monday to Thursday, 11am to midnight Friday and Saturday, and from 11am to 10.30pm on Sunday; and permission to serve late night refreshment until the same terminal hours as the sale of alcohol.

The location of the premises is withing the Seven Dials cumulative impact policy area where there is already a high concentration of licensed premises. Camden’s Statement of Licensing Policy states that there is presumption to refuse such applications for a new premises licence unless the applicant can demonstrate that the premises will not add to problems of crime and disorder, public nuisance and public safety.

To view the details of the application and make a comment, search Camden’s public licensing register for the following reference:

APP\PREMISES-NEW\116327, 106 New Oxford Street, London WC1A 1HB.

A public consultation on the application is open until 11 September 2023.

Camden’s Statement of Licensing Policy can be found here.