‘Doncaster’ and ‘Culture’ aren’t two words you would normally associate together but Kingsgate is undoubtedly culminating the feel of a ‘cultural quarter’ in Doncaster town centre. With The Notorious Advark Record Shop, Rewind Memorabilia and Taste cafe all established, there is now a newcomer to a burgeoning scene…
Tucked between vintage and collectibles shop Rewind and trendy cafe Taste is newly opened comic book and gaming store Vault 14. The idea behind the place is a not just a well stocked shop containing everything from comics to board games but also a venue for like minded people to join in tournaments and just generally hang out. When I was writing this article in my head I almost wrote ‘the kind of place where kids who don’t want to go ice skating or stand outside McDonalds can feel comfortable’. Now Vault 14 is that, but you know what? If the ice skating and McDonalds kids want to come they are welcome too. Gaming and comic books are not niche any more. They are not the reserve of outsiders or ‘nerds’ (a phrase so ubiquitous it now has virtually no meaning). The highest rated show on American TV is The Walking Dead. Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant Man dominated the box office in 2015. There are whole universes and communities just waiting to be discovered and Vault 14 finally gives Doncaster a place that people can either use as a starting point or for a continuation of an obsession.
When I was growing up in Doncaster, my friends and I spent a lot of time in Track Records. Friendships were cultivated, new music discovered and hoodies were purchased. Whilst it was an awesome record shop, Track Records wasn’t actually a place designed as a meeting point or a hang out. Serving refreshments and also containing a seating area, Vault 14 gives kids and adults alike a place to meet up and bond over shared passions.
In the absence of a Track Records or anything like that, Vault 14 carries the same flag. At the store grand opening a few weeks back, those in attendance already seemed ready to settle in. There was a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of smiles and handshakes, and some damn fine coffee. Mostly there was a genuine desire from patrons and staff alike for Vault 14 to provide what Doncaster has been missing for so long. A place that is part Star Wars Cantina and part Fortress of Solitude. A place where you can go and play board games with your friends and or just chill with a comic and a coffee.
Welcome to Vault 14. Welcome home.