Mortal Kombat 2 or Street Fighter? At Pixel Alley you don’t have to choose.

With its latest offering, the TYCA team (Lily Blacks, Double Happiness) has somehow crammed nearly 100 retro arcade games into the space below Smith Street's Mr Wow’s Emporium.

“We’ve got some of the retro classics like Donkey Kong,” co-owner Lachlan McAllister says. “We've also got Tapper, which is a great one because it’s actually a bar-themed arcade game. It was originally a Budweiser one until they got in trouble for having kids in arcades playing beer games, so now it’s root beer Tapper.”

Tidbits like this betray McAllister as a true gamer, someone who’ll name drop legendary Donkey Kong players such as Steve Wiebe and Billy Mitchell. “Yeah, I’m a pretty massive nerd for want of a better word,” he admits with a laugh.

Inspired by US forerunners, such as the aptly named Barcadia in New Orleans, Pixel Alley pays homage to the art of retro games, adorning its walls with pixel-art murals from illustrator Justine McAllister.

It all adds up to an experience that’s considered rather than kitsch, right down to making sure there's a ledge between the machines you can rest your drink on while you play.

Even if you don’t play no games –here’s looking at you Lil Jon – there’s still enough going on behind the bar to warrant a visit.

The beer on-tap is Bastard Son Pale Ale, each pint of which comes with a $1 game token. The tinnie selection is top notch, too, from the classic Melbourne Bitter to Pirate Life and even Pabst, if you feel like going full on college freshman.

The game-inspired cocktails are next level, including Pacman Bubble Tea (lychee vodka, lime and ginger beer) and the Konkey Dong. As for wine, it’s a short and sweet offering. We suggest ordering a glass of sparkling, because how great would it be to be drinking Prosecco while playing Pacman?

Pixel Alley
95 Smith Street, Fitzroy
(03) 9416 0079

Wed to Thu 5pm–1am
Fri 4pm–1am
Sat 6pm–1am
Sun 5pm–11pm