ST. FRANCIS — The popular restaurant and self-proclaimed nerd bar, 42 Ale House, is closing up shop after this weekend.
42 Ale House became popular among "gamers" for its wide array of board and arcade games. In fact, it was ahead of the curve in many respects for what it was offering.
"We were at the time back in 2013 we were like one of the only geek bars in the world," owner Tony Nilles said. "We were probably in the first 15 places 20 places that did it."
Shelves upon shelves are filled with classic and new board games. There are five arcade games including Centipede, Galaga, and Ms. Pacman. Not to mention, there's also plenty of action figures and 'nerdy' wall decorations.
A quick step inside 42 Ale House before the bar closes for good in a few days. pic.twitter.com/MnpiaRfmQC— James Groh (@JamesGroh_) February 19, 2020
In fact, one of Nilles' biggest accomplishments he said was bridging the gap between sports and nerd bards.
"'I kind of like some of this stuff, but I just want to watch the football game and you're my local bar,' and all of a sudden they were showing interest in (Dungeons and Dragons) or were showing interest in the tabletop games," he said.
However, that wasn't the initial purpose of the bar. While it was designed to be a safe place gamers could come to play and drink a beer, he wanted to create memories.
"I met my boyfriend, which became my husband, which now we have two kids, and we bring our two kids there, you know," he said. "Those are things we didn’t do, but we are honored to be apart of."
Nilles never even cashed himself a check from the bar. He would take a couple of tips, but this was a side gig. A passion project if you will. (Albeit a pretty crazy passion project to get into the late-night food and bar industry as a hobby.)
It's the moments that will live on forever that kept him going.
"A couple was having like a rehearsal dinner here and their venue was having issues for the next day and so they told their guests hey guess what we are just doing it now so that was absolutely wild when that happened."
Sadly, it's game over for the bar now.
"I think we’ve done what we set out to do, and then with the lease winding down, it's just time," he said.
The initial mention came on Sunday, Feb. 16 with a Facebook post.
He didn't spell out a specific reason. Instead, he summed it up as a mix of many things coming together that culminated in the decision to close up shop. Reasons like: fatigue, stagnant business, and the end of their lease.
However, before that happens, many people are flocking to the bar to have one last drink and give a final goodbye.
"We did twice what our normal business would be on that day. Yesterday, we did about three and a half times what our normal Tuesday business would be."
You better act fast, though. Nilles said he expects to be open through the weekend; however, Nilles is tapping out once the taps are out.