Castro market hall The Myriad has been chugging along for nine months now, expanding from an initial offering of coffee, juice and cocktails to add ping-pong machines, a baguette vending machine, and new food vendors, like Noname Sushi. Now, it's decided to step up its entertainment offerings.
"We want to bring more entertainment to the marketplace," said The Myriad manager Andrew Ramsay.
The solution: Exit Reality, a San Francisco-based company that's installed a "cube" for experiencing virtual reality.
Designed and fabricated by Daphne Vega Koenig, the cube is a "futuristic reality machine," says Exit Reality co-founder and CEO Yoni Koenig. It's equipped with a HTC Vive headset and a monitor, allowing visitors to play different arcade or meditative games, enjoy a cinematic experience, or "paint" with an application called Tilt Brush.
The price: $10 for 10 minutes of play, and $1/minute for any additional minutes after that.
Although the cube has already been in place for several days, Exit Reality will host its official grand opening this Saturday, with the chance to try it out for free.
Koenig says setting up shop at the Myriad is part of his goal of bringing VR into social venues and winning over customers that wouldn't try it otherwise. Gathering spaces like the Myriad, which attracts neighborhood regulars grabbing coffee on their way to work or seeking an evening cocktail, are "the modern piazza," he said.
To accommodate more VR users at Saturday's event, Koenig is also bringing in a former delivery truck that's been retrofitted as a VR space. The truck, which has also set up shop outside SoMa's Hotel Zetta, will return to the Myriad "from time to time," Koenig says.
The Myriad's other vendors, like Noname Sushi owner Tommy Wong, tell us they're hopeful that Exit Reality will help attract new customers. Ramsay notes that the space is also hosting jazz bands from time to time, and will continue to seek out new options to entertain customers.
Exit Reality is open on weekdays starting at 5pm, and on weekends starting at 11am.