WE'VE GOT GAME
Twin Cities gaming bars offer a new kind of fun
Image by guruXOX/fotolia
By Aubrey Schield
Amp up your next night out on the town with skee-ball, Big Buck Hunter, retro pinball machines and N64 Mario Kart at one of the Twin Cities’ many gaming bars. These joints marry a little healthy competition with one of our favorite pastimes—enjoying a few drinks with good friends.
Some of our picks are brand new on the Twin Cities’ scene, and others have been around the block a few times, but they all promise a fun evening with local craft beer on tap, near nightly drink specials, and, of course, myriad games.
Can Can Wonderland
Art gallery meets bar meets indoor mini putt putt course. That’s a pretty good way to describe this new installation off University Avenue in St. Paul. Explore the one-of-a-kind art displays as you play a round of 18-hole, artist-designed mini golf with a beer in hand—they have locally made beer available from Bauhaus Brew Labs, Fulton Brewery, Indeed Brewing Co. and more.
If you don’t mind a bit of a crowd, Up-Down’s more than 60 beers on taps and ’80s and ’90s throwback arcade games make this Lyn-Lake spot perfect for a night of competition. All games are only 25 cents, and you can purchase tokens for ease of play. Plus, they offer pizza by the slice for only $4. All in all, it’s a heck of a deal all in one spot.
Check out our in-depth review of this new addition to the Mall of America. Some highlights to notice: multi-level go karting, virtual reality gaming, an extensive cocktail menu and equally impressive food selections.
Punch Bowl Social
This giant of an arcade bar is located in St. Louis Park’s hip West End, an up-and-coming shopping, dining and entertainment district a few miles west of downtown Minneapolis. While many storefronts on the West End block are currently empty, Punch Bowl Social is leading a revitalization of the area, attracting a fun bunch on weekend nights for bowling, Big Buck Hunter, skee-ball, pin ball, karaoke and amazing cocktails. (I recommend trying the strawberry daiquiri for a refreshingly tart libation.)
Channel your inner Forrest Gump at Hop21 Table Tennis Club & Bar. Book a table at the downtown Minneapolis bar Monday through Saturday and enjoy all the staples of traditional bar food and drinks.
Half Time Rec
If you’re a bocce ball lover, this Irish joint is the place to be. Located in St. Paul, Half Time Rec features indoor bocce ball in their lower level. Play on one of the two clay tracks or get a game of darts, pool or cornhole going. They also have live music every weekend with no cover, so you can enjoy some local talent after a rousing game.
Board games more your speed? Head to Chatterbox Pub for card games and classic board games. They also have several popular video games for Nintendo, Atari and Sega for the technological gamers out there.
Retro pinball machines will soon light up the interior of this South Minneapolis spot, scheduled to open April 1. Offering a refined hot dog menu with fancy yet finger-licking toppings alongside local taps and cocktails, you won’t want to miss this newest addition to the Twin Cities’ gaming bars.