Pints & Pixels: Well Worth the Drive


Alex Hindman, Writer

The oversaturation of cookie-cutter restaurants doing the same old stuff makes unique businesses like Pints and Pixels really stand out. Last week, my family went there for dinner for the first time, and though I’m usually unenthusiastic about bar and grill style restaurants, I knew that it would be special as soon as I heard its name. 

Pints & Pixels is a bar and an arcade, with over 50 vintage arcade and pinball machines housed inside. I love video games and was genuinely excited to go and see what all they had, and I was very surprised by not only what games they had, but also by their menu. The menu has some of the items you would expect from a bar: hamburgers, sandwiches, and fries to name a few. However, the menu and food was supplied by Anaheim Chili, a company that I didn’t know of before my visit. With a name like that, you would assume that they would have some spice on their menu, and you would be very, very right. Not everything they serve is hot, luckily, but a good chunk of it has some kick to it. They also have things like hot dogs and sweet potato fries. I myself had the grilled pimento cheese sandwich with bacon added. You get a side of pickles with every meal, but be warned that they are paired with jalapenos, and some seeds are left in. I also learned very quickly that they are stored in the same containers when a pickle slice left my tongue burning. Other than that, though, the meal was pretty good.

An image Pints & Pixels retweeted.

Now it’s on to the “pixels” part of the place. Pints & Pixels has a lot of different retro arcade cabinets, as well as a number of pinball machines. You have the classics like Galaga, Pacman, Donkey Kong, and Qbert, then there’s some fighting games like Mortal Combat 2 or Street Fighter 2 Turbo, some shoot-em-ups like Metal Slugs, and some other game styles like beat-em-ups and those weird virtual shooters. They even have some stuff that I never would have expected to be in arcade cabinets, like Sinistar, Battletoads, and Tetris. In order to play these, you have to pay up with tokens, which you buy with cash; you also get some tokens with your meal for free, which is a nice touch.

One of my favorite games was Mario Kart. In a small side room next to the pinball machines are three Mario Kart machines, all of which are linked together for multiplayer. Every time you race, you would get three randomly assigned items that you can pick up and use for that race only. This makes it very chaotic, random, and overall exciting and fun. The whole family ran a few races that night, and my mom and I did even more with just the two of us. She doesn’t even like video games! There’s also a chalkboard with all of the highscores currently held in the restaurant. If you’re up for a challenge and want to show off your skills, you can aim to be a new record holder. I was absolutely stunned to see how high they were; one of the highest was in the billions!

While I have been saying a lot of positive things about Pints & Pixels, there are a few issues I do have with the place. The menu seems really small to me. The entire thing takes up one page, front and back, and the options are pretty limited. The good news is that the menu has a lot of good items, so it’s more quality over quantity. Another thing I should mention is that they have a specific area designated for smoking; it is on an outdoor balcony, but it’s still a pretty odd thing to see so predominantly. Don’t let that ruin your experience, though. The service was great, the seating was quick, the food was good, and the games were fun. Overall, Pints & Pixels is great if you like video games and bar food. Invite a few friends and hang out, eat some grub, and play some old school games. It’ll be a fun night for sure!