Gears of War and Unreal Tournament lead designer Cliff Bleszinski has opened a pub.
In the time between leaving Epic in October 2012 and launching his new studio, Boss Key Productions, Bleszinski co-founded a watering hole in Raleigh, North Carolina where he (and Epic for that matter) currently reside.
As reported by Men's Journal, his bar/restaurant, The Station at Person Street, is described as "a modern take on a 1910 Amoco gas station." Bleszinski didn't enter the dining industry solo, however, as he partnered with a local restaurateur, Niall Hanley, to ensure that this operation runs smoothly.
Bleszinski doesn't think running a restaurant is all that different from designing a video game when you get right down to it. "This restaurant looked like chaos and then I realised everything is just systems," the video game developer told Men's Journal about an eye-opening experience he had dining in New York. "The video game is systems that are operating together that the player manipulates. One thing I've learned about the restaurant business is to keep an eye on your ticket times and keep an eye on your customers. Make sure they're happy. If something's messed up, give them a free desert, etc.
"And one of the other rules I've learned is keep an eye on the bathroom. Because if the bathroom is not clean, that kitchen sure as hell isn't."
Apparently things are going well with The Station because Bleszinski is already planning his next pub: The Raleigh Beer Garden. This upcoming establishment will be three times the size of The Station and is projected for a spring 2015 opening. Will it be bigger, better and more badass?
"I want to make sure that the Beer Garden has a bit of a geek influence," Bleszinski explained. "We'll have a couple of old school arcade games and some pinball machines to have that geek DNA. West Coast Barcades are absolutely huge, so we hope to have a little bit of that with 350 beers on draft and a great outdoor space for people to enjoy a pint on a nice Raleigh 80 degree day."
This isn't the first time a video game veteran has turned their professional attention to booze. BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk left the company that made Mass Effect and Dragon Age so he could pursue a career in beer journalism - something he's now producing a web show about.