So apparently a few somebodies said “OK, what if we take the menu from Anaheim Chili, add 50 vintage video games and pinball machines, and set the whole thing into an elegant space downtown with a full bar?”
Short version: “How can we separate Bo Williams from a lot of money on an ongoing basis?”
Oh, mercy, what a good time. Pints and Pixels is a full service restaurant just as I have described. It is located over the UG White hardware store on Clinton Avenue in Huntsville, which means you need to look for signs and use “secret” doors to get there. That’s a rather appropriate detail, don’t you think?
The sights and sounds are just glorious. The games run on tokens, which are 24 for $5. I spent a good bit of time with Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, Bezerk, Gauntlet, Joust, Defender, Centipede, Spy Hunter, and Frogger. I can also reliably report that, though I still think it’s really cool, I’m still awful at Robotron: 2084. (If I stunk back in the day, adding 34 years to my reflexes isn’t helpful.)
It’s not a comprehensive collection, but if you spent spare time and money in an arcade during the first half of the 1980s, you’ll find several old friends here. All of the machines are in excellent condition, and they play just like you remember them. There are also videos from the ‘80s playing throughout, on high-quality screens and speakers. We enjoyed Madonna’s “Borderline,” the Cars’ “Shake It Up,” DeBarge’s “Rhythm of the Night,” and Pat Benatar’s “Promises in the Dark,” among others. (All dead-on period-correct, by the way.)
I expected my sons to enjoy Pints and Pixels, but I had no idea they would immerse themselves so completely. They looked just like I did in the arcade at their ages. They went from game to game just as excitedly. When they “died” unjustly, they reached for another token just as indignantly. “Dad, is this just like it was when you were a kid?” my 11-year-old wanted to know. I replied “it’s very much like it was when I was a kid, except this is a much nicer place than a typical arcade was then.” Since our visit, they’ve asked me literally every day when we’re going back.
Pints & Pixels Menu
Oh yeah, it’s a restaurant too — and a fine one indeed. This is the Anaheim Chili menu, which means an excellent selection of chilies, burgers, sandwiches, and such. Pints and Pixels subtracts the loose meat sandwich from the Anaheim Chili menu, and adds the Bat Out of Hell meat loaf sandwich. As I’ve had nearly all of the Anaheim Chili menu, I had to get that sandwich — and it was fine indeed. I’m actually looking forward to going back for it. Robust with just a bit of peppery spice, it was an excellent use of $10.49.
Both of my sons spoke highly of their serrano burgers — some of the finest burgers available in the Huntsville area — and Lea enjoyed her wings. This is a foodie’s menu, and you are rather unlikely to be disappointed. Entrees are $7-12, and everything is prepared with considerable care. Our service was excellent. When you order food, then tokens magically appear.
Half-Pint’s Kid Menu
The children’s menu features a number of $5.49 offerings, including cheeseburgers, chili, and chicken fingers. Both highchairs and booster seats are available, and there is a dedicated family restroom with a changing table.
We visited for Sunday lunch, and though I have not yet been at night, I gather that Pints and Pixels aims to be family-friendly during the day, with more of a bar atmosphere in the evening. Children 16 or under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Pints and Pixels wants to feed you, but they also want to take you back to a simpler time — a time when there were unambiguous good guys and bad guys, and you were invited to blow the stuffings out of the latter. Go for the ride. You won’t be disappointed.
And I’ll see you there, spending a little too much money.
Pints and Pixels Details
Address: 115 Clinton Ave East, 3rd Floor, Huntsville (map)
View Website | Pints & Pixels on Facebook
Tuesday through Thursday, 11 am – 10 pm
Friday and Saturday, 11 am – midnight
Sunday 11 am – 8 pm