Arcade bars are a thing now. Makes sense, as old games find new homes in establishments full of thirsty 20- and 30-somethings wanting to relive a bit of their youth. With several arcade-focused establishments now operating in the Twin Cities, it’s high time to grab a firstfull of quarters in one hand and toss a beer in the other, because hearing multiple 8-bit soundtracks drown out plunking pinball machines across the room never sounded so sweet.Read More
Play Pinball and Drink Beer Inside These Twin Cities Bars with Arcade Games
Games, drinks, and snacks with friends
1. Punch Bowl Social Minneapolis
Think of Punch Bowl a more grownup Dave & Buster’s. While there’ll be plenty of families with kids during the day, 30-somethings in slacks will take over the place at night. They’re there not just for the bowling, bocce ball, and karaoke, they’ll also be enjoying a limited selection of video game staples alongside craft cocktails and elevated bar food like shrimp burgers and cocoa dusted carnitas tacos. Don’t worry, they also have Hamm’s, wings, and nachos.
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2. Up-Down Minneapolis
Up-Down might just have the best selection of games in the area, including 80s arcade classics from “Donkey Kong” to “Dig Dug,” 90s fighting games, and current games like “Killer Queen,” designed with the modern bar arcade in mind. Also: plenty of pinball machines and some of the best Skee-Ball machines in the Twin Cities. Between sipping a beer and eating a slice of pizza, Up-Down is also a perfect spot to overhear couples bond over wrestling on awkward first dates and watch pinball wizards do battle.
3. Mortimer's Bar and Restaurant
While Mort’s may not have the most robust roster of games on this list, its offerings are strong. With classics like “Donkey Kong,” “NBA Jam,” and “Galaga” alongside a half dozen pinball machines, the happy hour deals keeps the tab small so there’s more quarters for playing. Stick around late for live music several nights a week.
4. TILT Pinball Bar
The concept is so simple: hot dogs, beer, and pinball. And some cocktails. Yes, it seems a surefire blueprint for success, especially with a clean and cozy space, well-maintained pinball machines, good selection of beer and spirits, all topped off with a menu of dogs piled high with ingredients ranging from macaroni and cheese to kimchi to roasted garlic aioli.
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Minneapolis, MN 55413
Housed in the former Domo Ramen, this recently-opened Northeast bar arcade has a solid spread of coin-op games, including pinball, arcade mainstays “Die Hard” and “Street Fighter II,” plus new cellphone era games like “Death Ball” and “Burrowing Owls.” The recently opened kitchen serves up limited greasy bar bites. Check in regularly for free-to-play games, board game nights, and other special events.
6. Can Can Wonderland
Besides the famous artist-created mini golf, there’s a literal museum full of mind-bending electro-mechanical arcade games, some over 50 years old, just waiting to be played at Can Can Wonderland. Add in dozens more retro video games, regular live entertainment, a selection of pour-your-own beer and cocktails—hell, even a car to sing karaoke in that may or may not be working —and it’s very possible to have too much fun at Can Can Wonderland.
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7. Ox Cart Arcade & Rooftop
This Lowertown corner bar from the mind of Eater Twin Cities’ Chef of the Year Justin Sutherland, who relaunched this space earlier this year, hits a late ’80s neon nostalgia sweet spot. With game options ranging from pinball to classic arcade games to four-person air hockey, there’s plenty to do when all the seats at the large bar in the center of the room are taken. Ox Cart also touts a large beer menu, fun cocktails like the Boozy Snow Cone, plus a limited menu of elevated bar eats, from pork fried rice to pizza. During warmer months, the rooftop features more games and even a peek into adjacent CHS Field.