1) Pixeled has resurrected all of your favorite games from the past, and more.
Pac Man, Tron, The Simpsons, Mortal Kombat, Galaga, and much more are alive and ready for action at Pixeled. With 50+ arcade games dating back to the 70s, 80s and 90s, there’s a broad spectrum of people who will easily enjoy their time reliving their childhood. One of the more popular games only dates back to around 2013, Killer Queen, and features a five-on-five arcade battle. Keep your eyes out for Killer Queen tournaments, which are right around the corner, as well as fighting game tournaments.
“The machines were a lot of work, and it’s been about two years now hunting them down and looking for them. We’ve been to auctions, collections and finders all over the United States,” said Klein. “A lot of them we buy aren’t restored, but we have our own tech. Nick’s dad is a technician and has about 30 years of electronics repair experience, so that’s been a huge help to us. He put in 40-hour work weeks for about a year straight getting them ready to go.”
So how does it work? You can buy the tokens right from the bartender or there’s an old-school 80s-style token machine that accepts regular bills. Each game is the equivalent of 25¢, and you’ll get to play with custom-designed Pixeled tokens. As Klein says, “there’s something really cool and nostalgic about having a pocket full of tokens.”
2) A historic location adds to the aesthetic.
Locating in the historic Union Storage Building was the partners’ first choice. A staple landmark in Fargo since 1930, the former cold storage warehouse and creamery is now home to renovated industrial lofts and commercial space. Complete with vintage brick and wooden rafters, the brewery-meets-arcade fitted up the 3,500-square-foot taproom and 3,800-square foot basement brewing area to enhance a vibe that comes from history itself.
“The Historic Union is the perfect place for us because it’s got all of this history and this old-school feel, it really adds to the nostalgia,” said Klein.
3) The atmosphere is nothing short of that classic, welcoming arcade feel we all know and love.
Upon entry to the bar, it’s impossible to miss the astounding 3,500-foot mural that covers most of the establishment’s wall space.Hand-spray-painted by legendary Bismarck graffiti artist Grant Hicks, known for creating the local Space Aliens mural, the Pixeled art perfectly pulls together that nostalgic 80s and 90s arcade feel. Combined with a room primarily lit by the screens of the machines and an open floor plan, the atmosphere and aesthetic alone is enough to make you feel right at home.
“We draw the lights when we’re open too so that the light is mainly from the game screens, said Klein. “We also wanted to leave enough room for people to move through well. The goal was to have a good open floor plan so that you don’t have people hoarding one machine. The floor plan works well, even when we’re at max capacity. You can see everything when you walk in.”
4) The beer is pretty tasty and brewed in-house, making this arcade-brewery one-of-a-kind to the area.
Although brewing beer wasn’t the original model for the arcade bar–many around the country feature a full-service bar or beer-only–Fargo’s liquor license system proved to be a small challenge for the duo.
“Nick is the beer wizard so he handles all of the brewing, and he’s been doing home-brewing for about five years. Once we found out that this taproom model was financially better for us, we kind of put things together and really started to think about brewing on a production level. That’s when we decided on the brewery, and it works out really well for us,” said Klein.
The brewery has a variety of beers on tap from IPAs and ales to malty beers and porters, but most of the offerings are on the sessionable side with a low ABV (alcohol by volume.) And if you’re not a beer drinker, there are plenty of flavors in the Italian and cream soda department.
Pixeled operates on a five-barrel system, resulting in about eight kegs per batch when it’s all said and done. Which means that distribution and canning are not in the works as of now.
“We focus on very sessionable beers with a lower alcohol content so that you can have two and you’re not stumbling into stuff. The naming of the beers was super fun, they’re all nostalgic and arcade-based,”said Klein.
5) What are you waiting for? It’s time to beat that high score. Here’s all the info you need for your visit: