If you’ve got a taste for craft brew, good food, crazy fast fiber Internet and great retro games (and maybe a penchant for cancelled sci-fi shows that really deserved better than they got) then Firefly is the place to be. If you’re in Charlottesville, VA or if you’re ever passing through, it’s a great place to spend an evening, surrounded by games of all sorts.
Owner Melissa gave us the grand tour as Firefly hosted a DOTA 2 Pubstomp for The International 5. It was a great mix of fun, food and frenetic gaming action.
Firefly is among the first businesses in Charlottesville to get crazy fast fiber Internet from Ting and offer it up to patrons via a free Wi-Fi connection. The gig was invaluable for a live streaming event like our Dota 2 Pubstomp; the streaming broadcast came in high definition and without a hiccup.
I had a chance to speak with Melissa about how Firefly came to be, what it’s like stepping up to crazy fast fiber Internet and how the idea for an arcade-turned-bar came to be.
“My long term boyfriend Mark’s dream was to always have an arcade bar. Somewhere where you could hang out, play games with friends and order good food – not just a place to go sit and drink. When Mark passed from cancer in January, I ended up inheriting the bar,” she said. “While I have a business background, running a restaurant has been a new experience for me.”
Firefly’s journey and story is an interesting one and the atmosphere reflects it. There’s the standard bar stuff like draft beer, a pool table and Wednesday night karaoke. There are also a bunch of retro arcade machines, pinball and a ping pong table. Those looking for sit-down fun can play any one of the tons of board games on offer. Aside from the decor, Firefly has great food (including craft beers and healthy snacks) and a spacious layout that’s perfect for drinks with friends or an evening out with the kids.
“Personally, I love the ping pong – we have that out a few nights a week. I also enjoy pinball, the arcade games and board games,” Melissa said, clearly not able to pick a single favorite. “It’s a very family friendly spot and just has a really cool vibe. We also try to focus on local food and seasonal ingredients because Mark and I actually used to be farmers.”
Firefly is one of the coolest bars I’ve ever been in and a breath of fresh air in the Charlottesville restaurant scene. If I lived in Cville I’d be a regular for sure, along with becoming the undisputed ping pong champion (sorry Melissa).
“Owning an event space has always been a goal of mine, so having a place where the community can gather for unique events is great. Mike was a big gamer and would love the fact that we’re hosting a gaming tournament like this at Firefly.”
Using Firefly’s gigabit fiber Ting Internet connection, we flawlessly streamed the final two days of The International 5 on a large projector with DOTA 2 fans from all across Virginia (including Jason Bennett, the latest customer featured on the Ting blog).
Ting Internet and Firefly came to be when Melissa realized that Firefly’s existing copper connection wasn’t fast (or reliable) enough to serve the needs of the bar, the staff and its customers.
“We just needed faster Internet, whether it’s for running our POS systems, customers bringing in their laptops to use our Wi-Fi or streaming online events like this one. Since switching to Ting Internet, our entire staff has noticed such a difference. With our previous Internet provider, there were some nights when we couldn’t even stream music.”
Thanks to Melissa and everyone at Firefly for letting us hang out for two days and helping us to host an awesome event! If you live in Cville we definitely recommend dropping by (and giving them a follow on Facebook and Instagram).