Another arcade bar to open next month, in Cudahy

Will bring variety of games, live music events to former Metal Grill space

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Local rock group Direct Hit, Woods pictured third from left. Courtesy of Direct Hit, Facebook

Gaming-themed taverns continue to gain traction throughout the Milwaukee-area as the trend heads for Cudahy next month.

The newest such establishment, called The Very Famous X-Ray Arcade, will open on Feb. 9 at the former Metal Grill bar and music venue, located at 5036 S. Packard Ave.

Vacant since the nightclub shuttered in 2017, the space has been transformed into an arcade and event venue that will include video and retro console games, live music performances, TVs, and food and beverage offerings, according to an announcement.

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Behind the concept is a group of investors led by Nick Woods, singer and manager for Milwaukee-based punk rock band Direct Hit.

The group purchased the building in September 2018, and has spent the past few months working on an interior renovation project, which included extensive cosmetic repairs and updates to the electrical and plumbing systems. 

“We’ve not only performed most of the labor here ourselves, we’ve learned to perform it well, in-process, as a team,” Woods said in a statement. “Our mission is simply to exist, long-term, and serve audiences of all ages and backgrounds that support independent and developing music, media and culture.”

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The space is now equipped with a 15,000 watt-PA system for live music as well as a 162-inch projection screen and video capability for film events and group console gameplay.

Its arcade games, which were purchased from collectors throughout the Midwest, include classic Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega and Nintendo 64 console games. A former pool room will house checkers, chess and backgammon tables.

X-Ray Arcade will serve craft and domestic beer and house cocktails, both with and without alcohol, concocted by Woods and his wife, Kate. As for food, the bar will serve “party food that you eat with your hands,” Woods said, including empanadas made by Milwaukee-based start-up Triciclo Peru MKE.

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Plans are in the works for an expanded menu as well as updates to the building’s exterior, which will be made during the next year, according to the announcement.

Starting Feb. 9, X-Ray Arcade will be open Thursday from 4 p.m. to midnight, on Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to close and on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m., with additional hours for ticketed events. The bar this summer plans to roll out expanded hours of operation. 

Other arcade bars that have recently opened include Oak & Shield Gaming Pub on Milwaukee’s East Side, Up-Down MKE on Brady Street, and 1983 Arcade Bar downtown.

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