Sip Dallas-brewed cider and play pinball all day at this Dallas arcade

After learning about the history of cider, Joel and Laura Malone cleared out their pantry, garage and bathroom and brewed 23 ciders in 1 month. One of the experiments that came out of that month was Crackberry, a sweet and tangy cider that became the first cider in the Malone’s Dallas-based brewing business, Bishop Cider Co.

Crackberry is a sweet cider with a reddish-purple hue. It sparkles a little on the tongue when you sip it and it finishes with a slightly tart note. It also easily stains your clothes, as I discovered when I sampled Crackberry at Bishop Cider Co’s arcade, Cidercade.

The 21 pinball machines at Cidercade, Dallas, Texas. Photo by Vivian Farmer.
The 21 pinball machines at Cidercade, Dallas, Texas. Photo by Vivian Farmer.

Cidercade is unique to, not only Dallas, but the United States. The arcade is located off Irving street in an industrial block of nondescript buildings in the design district. There are picnic benches outside. Inside, there is a long bar that provides nothing but cider. Bulb string lights decorate the ceiling and large posters, advertising Bishop Cider Co, decorate the concrete walls. Cidercade is BYOF– bring your own food. There is a large and comfortable seating area with a view of the brewing operation, including 7 new 2,200 gallon brewing tanks. Bishop Cider Co. currently only serves Texas with a distribution range that stretches from El Paso to the panhandle.

After outgrowing the original location in the Bishop arts district, Bishop Cider Co. opened a tasting room and brewing center on Irving Street. The new tasting room was empty, not attracting customers. Bishop Cider Co tried to entice crowds with live music but that did not work either. The idea to put in some video games was batted around and the arcade grew from there.

People play pinball under banners advertising Bishop Cider Co's ciders. Photo by Vivian Farmer.
People play pinball under banners advertising Bishop Cider Co’s ciders. Photo by Vivian Farmer.

Cidercade currently has 21 pinball machines, making them the number 1 pin ball machine provider in Dallas. There are over 140 arcade games spanning from the classics to the brand new.

Visitors pay $10 at the door for all-you-can-play arcade games. The games are all rigged to work without coins although to start some of the older games, you have to click the orange coin button.

There are wooden spacers in between games, perfect for setting down cups full of cider. Some of the games even have cup holders. There is no obligation to buy cider but sipping on a new cider brew is part of the charm at Cidercade.

Photo courtesy of @thegrowlerexchange and @imagesbyjoshua #cider #hardcider

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Shelby Cook is one of the bartenders at Cidercade. Talkative and good with customers, he high-fived me when I introduced myself and helped me choose a cider with the simple question:

“Sweet, dry, tart, or sour?”

If you’re not really a cider person, try Schilling’s London Dry. It tastes like a spritzer but drier and without any definite fruit flavor.

Cook says the most popular game at Cidercade is Killer Queen. The game takes a minimum of 2 players but is best played with 10 people. The game takes a moment to figure out but Cook says after 3 or 4 plays, you become addicted.

Killer Queen is relatively rare. According to Killer Queen’s website, there are only 21 locations in the world with the arcade game.

“People will drive out of state to play it,” Cook says.

Other favorites include Guitar Hero, Mario Kart and 4 player Pac Man.

Cidercade is open Sunday-Thursday from 12p.m.-12a.m. and Friday-Saturday from 12p.m.-1a.m. The $10 cover charge lets you play all day, you can even leave and come back if you keep on your wristband.

Bishop Cider Co. also has a tasting room in the Bishop arts district where you can try experimental flavors and buy cans and growlers of their cider.

Vivian Farmer
After reading books about far off places as a child, Vivian was hooked on travel writing. She traveled during her college years and wrote about wine, oil painting and wild hogs. She's planning her next adventures and writing about anything and everything travel related.