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Darwin & Bear - Mario Would Love It

Many of us will remember the 1980s for its questionable outfits, haircuts and pop music. From Flock of Seagulls to Nick Kershaw, and shell suits to perms, it was a decade which pushed boundaries not only in pop culture, but in technology as well. It was the decade home consoles became a must-have.

Fast-forward 35 years and you’d be hard pushed to find a UK household without a console, PC, or iPad. We have become a nation of gamers. From Nannas playing Wordscape and Candy Crush on their phones, to kids using VR headsets in their bedrooms, gaming is here to stay.

But what about those games we played as kids on the old consoles such as Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, Street Fighter 2 and Tetris? For many years these have been lost to the archives, never to be enjoyed again. Well, that’s what we thought, cue Darwin and Bear.

Darwin and Bear are the 'New Kids On The Block', bringing the old school back! They are Chesterfield’s first, and only, gaming restaurant and bar! Scrabble, Monopoly, Nintendo Entertainment system, Sega Mega Drive, PlayStation - you name it, they’ve got it.

Darwin and Bear is the brainchild of Ben Kirby, a passionate gamer who wanted to share his enthusiasm for video and board games with the residents of Chesterfield. With over 20 years’ experience running bars and nightclubs, it made perfect sense for Ben to combine the two. But Ben didn’t embark on this adventure alone, this is a multiplayer game!

No stranger to a PlayStation herself, Antonia joined Ben on this exciting adventure. With over eight years’ experience in the hospitality industry and an eye for detail, Antonia is responsible for most of Darwin and Bears interior design.

The bar has wooden gaming booths with built in screens, with a variety of consoles to choose from. Whether you were a Sega, Nintendo or PlayStation person, Darwin and Bear have the booth for you. At the side of the bar you will find a stack of board games and upstairs there is an American pool table. It’s the perfect place to meet friends, go on a first date, or bring the kids to show off your skills, whilst enjoying some great food and a relaxing drink. If you’re lucky you may even win a game!

Darwin and Bear have a tasty and varied menu. We asked Ben and Antonia what their favourite dishes are:

"I’m leaning towards the chicken fajitas. I’ve always been a fan of Mexican food and we do a mean fajita! Washed down with one of our fruity cocktails, of course," recommends Antonia.

"My favourite dish must be the deep-fried beef chimichanga, with a Brewdog IPA. So glad we put it on the menu. I probably eat far too many, if I’m honest", exclaims Ben.

Ben and Antonia moved to Chesterfield from Derby and love it here.

"Chesterfield is a great fit for what we wanted to do. There is nothing else quite like Darwin and Bear in Chesterfield, we are quite unique. Chesterfield has a great mix of old and new, from the market, which I love, to the new independent shops such as Shop Indie. It’s cool and we love it here. Our town centre location on Glumangate is just off the main strip, meaning it’s easily accessible but quiet as well, perfect," says Antonia.

Ben and Antonia have big plans for the business (post covid), from gaming competitions to speed dating and board game nights. Darwin and Bear is a most welcome addition to Chesterfield town centre and another great reason to visit the high street. So, warm up those thumbs and visit Darwin and Bear today.

Words: Simon Paterson

Images: Darwin & Bear


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