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We reported last month that plans for a pop culture café for York were well advanced.

The venture, called Random Encounter, was hoping to open later in the summer after raising more than £10K with its Kickstarter campaign.

Now the duo behind Random Encounter, Ellen Stubbings and Wes Hall, have announced the location – 9 Gillygate.

This is the former home to Bluebells Of York – and it is a good fit, as it is next door to video game emporium Sore Thumb Retro Games.

‘Dopest news ever’

What was Bluebells of York will soon reopen as Random Encounter. Photograph © Google Street View
Wes and Ellen announced the shop deal on their Facebook page.

We are proud to announce that Random Encounter will be opening York’s first pop culture cafe at 9 Gillygate!

Stay tuned to social media for updates, behind the scenes and our eventual opening date (which will be soon!)

That brought a lot of love from their friends, including Paul Lowman who has run unique music shop Inkwell Records on Gillygate for six years.

“Dopest news ever, can’t wait to have you guys opposite! Congratulations, that’s a great location for you,” he wrote.

Buzzing scene

Co-founders: Wes Hall and Ellen Stubbings

Plan A was for Random Encounter to open in Spark:York, the new business hub being created out of containers on Piccadilly. They missed out on a place there.

But Plan B was Gillygate “mostly for its buzzing scene of small shops and restaurants (and of course, the foot traffic and customers those attract), and we’re sure we could be just as successful there”.

It will feature video games, board games, books, live esports and films. The cafe will sell hot and cold drinks, baked goods and snacks.

And there will be a strong social element with comic book clubs, gaming tournaments and quizzes planned.

Wes and Ellen thanked everyone for their “kind words, enthusiasm and well wishes on our location announcement – the response has been amazing!

“First things first – repaint the entire shop!”

It could mean that York soon has two pop culture cafes.

As we reported in March, the Play! Gaming Cafe was aiming to be the premier venue for social gaming in the city, and it has raised more than £11K in crowdfunding.

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