Schenectady’s New Nightspot Fuses Arcade Games and Vegan Food

SCHENECTADY – From Pac Man to Mortal Kombat, Schenectady’s new nightspot will feature a range of retro games – but not everything about the arcade bar and restaurant will be old school.

There will be air hockey, cornhole and a section for modern board games. A crane machine game that holds gift certificates for downtown Schenectady businesses instead of bouncy balls. And, of course, an all-vegan menu.

Unbeetable is set to open early next month at 148 Clinton St. and will be owner Chelsea Heilmann’s second vegan restaurant in the city. She also owns nearby Take Two Cafe, a plant-based breakfast and lunch spot that opened last May.

“I’ve always loved going out and having an activity, whether it’s board games or cards, to do over a beer or some snacks. We have so many bars and restaurants in Schenectady, but we have no place where you can go, play games with your friends and enjoy 100% vegan food in the evening,” Heilmann said.

Heilmann was inspired to fill both voids in the city by visiting popular arcade bars in other cities and seeing the enthusiasm of participating customers. She designed the 4,100 square foot building to mimic other retro arcades, with colorful artwork and murals adorning the interior.

A range of 17 arcade games and myriad other interactive activities will be accessible throughout the space – but there are no TVs, a conscious decision on Heilmann’s part to encourage conversation among guests .

The sit-down restaurant will offer a diverse, plant-based menu that includes macaroni and cheese skillets, jalapeno cornbread hushpuppies, burgers, tacos and other loaded finger foods. Even the selection of craft beers, wines, hard seltzers and signature cocktails will be vegan.

“For vegan people who come here a few times a week, we want them to always have an option depending on what they’re craving,” Heilmann said. “We give people lots of options, so they don’t get sick of eating the same kind of thing over and over again.”

Heilmann sees great potential for the downtown nightclub to become a destination for visitors coming to town for shows and performances at the nearby Proctors Theater. “I’m really excited that people can come and have a drink and play games before seeing a show,” she added.

The location, which was previously the Clinton Street Mercantile, will be open Tuesday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Once the opening date is finalized, a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held to celebrate.