Cram the Van | X-Ray Arcade

All ages venue in Milwaukee suburb offers music, drinks and old school gaming

Grayscale and touring acts Hot Mulligan, LURK and WSTR sold out X-Ray Arcade on Feb. 15.

An unassuming building on South Packard Avenue in sleepy Cudahy, WI, is home to a unique artist owned all-ages venue. Play one of the arcade games, enjoy some dinosaur chicken nuggets or rock out to live music while enjoying a homemade cocktail or craft beer at the X-Ray Arcade.

As soon as I entered the X-Ray I wished I was able to spend more time there. You would never have guessed that the venue has only been open for a little over a year.

Imagine a mix of local venues The Aquarium and the Red Raven Espresso Parlor and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what this venue is like. In an interview with the Milwaukee Record co-owner Nick Woods explained the venue as a “‘Mad Max’ version” of the “family fun centers” he grew up with.

The arcade cabinets and a spacious bar are set at the front of the establishment, so you can easily kill some time before the show or in between sets. Plus, even if you aren’t 21+ you still get to order your pop or punch at the bar, so you still get the experience.

The black walls are accented with a rad mural of a dripping skull complete with exposed brains and a red lightning bolt. The proclamation “dance at your own risk” adorns a sidewall.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is the little things that make the difference. A coat rack, free water and a gender-neutral bathroom are just a few subtle ways the X-Ray shows its love for its patrons.

Food not only includes the Wisconsin staple cheese curds (theirs are beer-battered), the venue offers vegan options. They do use the same frying oil regardless of if it is vegan or not, but you can ask them to bake your order instead.

As a suburb of Milwaukee, there is a variety of lodging options including the Radio City Airbnb ran by one of the owners of the X-Ray. Take in one of the numerous brewery tours around Milwaukee, take a walk around the historic water tower district with its stately old homes or explore the vibrant arts and culture scene before the show.

The X-Ray’s winter hours are one hour before the first act takes the stage on show days, and 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and Sunday 3 p.m. – 9 p.m. otherwise. Those under 21 must be accompanied by a parent on days without shows.

Upcoming shows of note include “Tiny Moving Parts,” “Bad Omens” and “Oso Oso with Prince Daddy & the Hyena.”

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