Bright pink, Brechtian designs cover the outer walls. Walking in, I’m greeted not by a bar, but by a bank of pinball machines. There’s one table crowded with nervous adventurers rolling through a difficult Dungeons and Dragons encounter, another where a somewhat tipsy group gets heated over Trivial Pursuit.
Secret Weapon is not a typical pub.
Adnam’s Mosaic and Yakima Red are the only proper beers on tap, but there’s plenty more bottles behind the bar. I order a Guinness Dublin Porter and head out to the back.
The garden is basic and barely deserves to be called a garden with the two lonely plants glaring at each other from opposite sides, but it still looks nice enough. You’ll find the same paint job from the front of the pub here, which is interesting to look at initially, but I suspect after three or four pints might start wobbling far too nauseatingly.
Not convinced, I head back inside and load up Rocket League on one of the Steam machines along the back wall (because I am a cool, not-nerdy gamer). It’s fun, and the drinks are good, and when I go back to the bar to order more the bartender calls me “friend” as if that’s a normal thing to say and not an affectation stolen from a fantasy novel.
Later, a friend arrives and we struggle through a particularly tricky round of Rocket League (if anyone asks, I let her win). And I realise that though Secret Weapon has many deficiencies as a pub, that’s not what it’s trying to achieve. As far as I can tell, SW’s goal is to provide an experience that’s near impossible to find elsewhere, and I’m into it.
As a pub? 3/5. But it scores 5/5 as a boozy LAN party.