Warehouse 49, a gaming center in Anchorage, provides those who are looking for a location to game with friends a convenient place to gather or meet new people.
“We’re providing that safe, awesome atmosphere for people to get together with like-minded people to play something, whether that be video games or board games,” Tristan Bellotti, owner of Warehouse 49, said. “It gets you out of the house. We’re for people who want to get out with friends or meet up with new people and have a great time.”
In their modest pop-up location on 33rd Avenue, there is space for PC gaming, consoles, board games and Dungeons & Dragons. In the garage are 16 capable gaming PCs and areas to bring your own computer. A side room hosts a row of consoles ranging from a Nintendo 64 to an Xbox One. Private rooms are also available with tables, a television and virtual reality headsets. Snacks and soda can be purchased in the entrance area.
Warehouse 49 also offers a game trade-in program where customers can get game time in exchange for their old games and consoles.
For Tabletop Tuesday, Warehouse 49 opens the entire center up for Dungeons & Dragons, card games and board games for free. This is Warehouse 49’s most popular day of the week, according to Bellotti.
Dungeons & Dragons is also very popular at Warehouse 49, according to Bellotti. Dungeons & Dragons is a roleplaying game where a Dungeon Master guides players through a fantasy world on enthralling adventures. The outcome of actions by players are determined by dice rolls.
“D & D has outranked PC gaming, board gaming and console gaming [by a ratio of] almost 2-to-1,” Bellotti said.
Bellotti has owned Warehouse 49 for the past three years. The idea for the business came from a gaming center in Eagle River called The Crave. It provided many of the same options Warehouse 49 currently does, such as old and current game consoles in addition to tables to play board games. The Crave also hosted tournaments and other events. Notably, The Crave owned a mobile gaming center that could drive to an event and play console games. The facility closed down in late 2016, according to its Facebook Page.
“Warehouse 49 is a progression of [The Crave]. If that was a 1.0, this would be a 2.0,” Bellotti said.
Warehouse 49 started small by hosting local area network, or LAN, parties. These are events where people connect to the same local area network to play multiplayer video games together. Eventually, an opportunity came to rent a temporary space where they opened their pop-up location.
Their first annual LAN party was hosted in the Egan Center. The Great Alaskan LAN Party supported Bean’s Cafe and the Alaska Toys for Tots Program. The only entry fee was donating food or toys.
“We raised probably around 200 to 400 pounds of food. People over-donated, which was awesome. Bean’s Cafe had no idea who we were. They were like, ‘gaming? What’s that going to do?’ Then we had 120 people show up. It showed that gamers can do good,” Bellotti said.
During the past three years, Warehouse 49 has worked with other organizations such as The Alaska Zoo, Blood Bank of Alaska and Big Brothers Big Sisters Alaska. They’ve also hosted networks for gaming at Senshi Con and Arctic Comic Con. This year, Warehouse 49 is planning on hosting a large Extra-Life event.
Warehouse 49 is also considering hosting eSports events, including the UAA teams.
“What’s nice about a gaming center like this is that everyone is together. It builds comradery. Practice as a team, you function as a team, you grow as a team. It’s hard to do that when you’re at home and you can’t have those verbal conversations with people as easily,” Bellotti said. “We provide a great atmosphere for school eSports.”
Warehouse 49 is currently working towards spreading awareness of their pop-up location.
“Growing is always going to be a challenge. There’s just no doubt about it. You’re always looking for that next goal. We have 1,300 followers [on Facebook] as of this week. We’re always looking to get to that next point. Our endgame is to become a nerdy bar here in Anchorage where you can eat and play,” Bellotti said.
The payment options are pay per hour and day passes, according to the Warehouse 49 website. Prices vary by activity.
Warehouse 49 is located at 1412 W. 33rd Ave. It’s open Tuesday-Thursday from 5-10 p.m., Friday from 5 p.m.-midnight and Saturday from noon-midnight.