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Ready Player One
Ready Player One
Rebecca Zenefski

Where to Dine and Play in the Twin Cities

Retro Games, Deceptive Drinks and Rube Goldberg Mini Golf.

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Ready Player One
| Rebecca Zenefski
Whether it is the first date or the 200th, sometimes staring at each other over a plate of ubiquitous Brussel sprouts can be awkward and a bit, well, ordinary. Put some zip into an evening out by exploring some thrilling dine, drink and play options popping up all around the Twin Cities metro area. There is everything from bowling to pinball to artist designed mini-golfing. You can even take in killer city views by the waning rays of sunshine on a hot pink ferris wheel. But just because the focus is on fun doesn’t mean the cocktails and nibbles can’t stand on their own. Here are just a few places around the metro that offer tantalizing food and tasty drinks in an over-the-top Instagrammable setting.

Did we miss your favorite place to grab a bite and indulge your inner kid? Take a trip to the comments section and let us know.
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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Bryant-Lake Bowl & Theater

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810 W Lake St
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 825-3737
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This Uptown stalwart is known for its casual but well executed cuisine, classic bowling lanes and a cozy theater where patrons are welcome to chow down in their seats. Monday from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m., BLB offers a Cheap Date Night special with two entrees, a bottle of wine or a few beers and a round of bowling for $28 per couple.

2. Betty Danger's Country Club

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2501 Marshall St NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418
(612) 315-4997
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A spin on the hot pink ferris wheel and a round of putt putt golf will have to wait for warmer weather, Betty Danger's pretty country club’s Hampton-Mex dishes are delightful any time of year, especially when paired with a Yale cocktail, a blush hued prickly pear slushie.

3. Half Time Rec

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1013 Front Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55103
(651) 488-8245
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Nothing says “romance” more than a meat raffle, and Half Time Rec holds theirs every Friday. The dive bar also boasts a killer Irish-esque menu written by super hot chef Jack Riebel, live music, pool tables, darts, bean bags, and bocce ball in a dirt floor basement. There is even Karaoke on Thursdays, but you might want to save that for the second date.

4. Can Can Wonderland

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755 Prior Ave N
Saint Paul, MN 55104
Newly opened in St. Paul's Midway neighborhood, Can Can Wonderland is all about the putt putt, with artist-designed holes the likes of which have never been seen. The highlight, however, has to be the cray cray drinks from the Bittercube crew, which include mind-blowing concoctions like That Carrot Drink, served in a clay pot and topped (magically!) with cookie crumble “dirt.”

5. Punch Bowl Social

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1691 Park Place Blvd
Saint Louis Park, MN 55416
(763) 400-3865
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Private karaoke rooms, fancy bowling lanes, arcade games and a menu designed by James Beard Award recipient chef Hugh Acheson? Yes, please. The national chain opened its first Minnesota spot in St. Louis Park this winter, and has been a hot spot ever since. The true entertainment mecca also features shuffleboard, foosball and board games.

6. Bearcat Bar

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1612 Harmon Pl
Minneapolis, MN 55403
The Third Bird from restaurateur Kim Bartmann has been recently transformed into Bearcat Bar, which features a more laid-back vibe and approachable menu. Hit the arcade games while you wait for your craft-your-own-salad and baby back ribs.

7. Pat's Tap

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3510 Nicollet Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 822-8216
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Another eatery from the brilliant mind of Kim Bartmann. Pat’s Tap is dive bar meets “chefie” food meets almost-Olympic sport Skee-Ball venue. As with all of Bartmann’s restaurants, the menu focuses on sustainable, local and organic products, so you can feel good about yourself while stuffing your face with that fab bison burger.

8. Elsie's Restaurant, Bar & Bowling

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729 Marshall St NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
(612) 378-9701
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Once smoking indoors became a no no, Elsie’s lost a bit of its divey vibe, but it makes up for it with its family friendly bowling and hearty burgers and wings. There are lots of screens for game watching, and the bowling is a popular spot for organized birthday bashes for the young and young at heart.

9. Up-Down

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3012 Lyndale Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55408
This Minneapolis bar features retro arcade games, pinball machines, skee-ball alleys, Nintendo 64 console gaming and a life-size jenga game, all for the good-ol’-days price of just 25 cents. To quench the inevitable thirst, Up-Down offers 60 beers on tap. On Sundays, $25 will get you a pound of tokens and a six pack of beer, because nothing is more impressive than a cheap date and a six pack.

10. Chatterbox Pub

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2229 E 35th St
Minneapolis, MN 55407
(612) 728-9871
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The Chatterbox is down to its original location in Minneapolis, the restaurant is as fun as ever, with retro board games, a sentimental list of video games like Atari and vintage Nintendo and a quirky, welcoming vibe. Games can be checked out for a buck each and enjoyed over a build-your-own pizza and some smokin’ wings.

11. Hot Plate

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5204 Bloomington Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55417
(612) 824-4794
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We dare you to walk through the doors of Hot Plate in South Minneapolis and not crack a smile. It’s a visual circus of kitchy art and nick nacks, complete with Rock Em Sock Em Robots (not for the kiddoes only). Classic diner breakfast dishes like the Drive-Thru Sandwich or carnitas scramble make for a comforting daylight hours date.

1. Bryant-Lake Bowl & Theater

810 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408
This Uptown stalwart is known for its casual but well executed cuisine, classic bowling lanes and a cozy theater where patrons are welcome to chow down in their seats. Monday from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m., BLB offers a Cheap Date Night special with two entrees, a bottle of wine or a few beers and a round of bowling for $28 per couple.
810 W Lake St
Minneapolis, MN 55408

2. Betty Danger's Country Club

2501 Marshall St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418
A spin on the hot pink ferris wheel and a round of putt putt golf will have to wait for warmer weather, Betty Danger's pretty country club’s Hampton-Mex dishes are delightful any time of year, especially when paired with a Yale cocktail, a blush hued prickly pear slushie.
2501 Marshall St NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418

3. Half Time Rec

1013 Front Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55103
Nothing says “romance” more than a meat raffle, and Half Time Rec holds theirs every Friday. The dive bar also boasts a killer Irish-esque menu written by super hot chef Jack Riebel, live music, pool tables, darts, bean bags, and bocce ball in a dirt floor basement. There is even Karaoke on Thursdays, but you might want to save that for the second date.
1013 Front Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55103

4. Can Can Wonderland

755 Prior Ave N, Saint Paul, MN 55104
Newly opened in St. Paul's Midway neighborhood, Can Can Wonderland is all about the putt putt, with artist-designed holes the likes of which have never been seen. The highlight, however, has to be the cray cray drinks from the Bittercube crew, which include mind-blowing concoctions like That Carrot Drink, served in a clay pot and topped (magically!) with cookie crumble “dirt.”
755 Prior Ave N
Saint Paul, MN 55104

5. Punch Bowl Social

1691 Park Place Blvd, Saint Louis Park, MN 55416
Private karaoke rooms, fancy bowling lanes, arcade games and a menu designed by James Beard Award recipient chef Hugh Acheson? Yes, please. The national chain opened its first Minnesota spot in St. Louis Park this winter, and has been a hot spot ever since. The true entertainment mecca also features shuffleboard, foosball and board games.
1691 Park Place Blvd
Saint Louis Park, MN 55416

6. Bearcat Bar

1612 Harmon Pl, Minneapolis, MN 55403
The Third Bird from restaurateur Kim Bartmann has been recently transformed into Bearcat Bar, which features a more laid-back vibe and approachable menu. Hit the arcade games while you wait for your craft-your-own-salad and baby back ribs.
1612 Harmon Pl
Minneapolis, MN 55403

7. Pat's Tap

3510 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408
Another eatery from the brilliant mind of Kim Bartmann. Pat’s Tap is dive bar meets “chefie” food meets almost-Olympic sport Skee-Ball venue. As with all of Bartmann’s restaurants, the menu focuses on sustainable, local and organic products, so you can feel good about yourself while stuffing your face with that fab bison burger.
3510 Nicollet Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55408

8. Elsie's Restaurant, Bar & Bowling

729 Marshall St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413
Once smoking indoors became a no no, Elsie’s lost a bit of its divey vibe, but it makes up for it with its family friendly bowling and hearty burgers and wings. There are lots of screens for game watching, and the bowling is a popular spot for organized birthday bashes for the young and young at heart.
729 Marshall St NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413

9. Up-Down

3012 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408
This Minneapolis bar features retro arcade games, pinball machines, skee-ball alleys, Nintendo 64 console gaming and a life-size jenga game, all for the good-ol’-days price of just 25 cents. To quench the inevitable thirst, Up-Down offers 60 beers on tap. On Sundays, $25 will get you a pound of tokens and a six pack of beer, because nothing is more impressive than a cheap date and a six pack.
3012 Lyndale Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55408

10. Chatterbox Pub

2229 E 35th St, Minneapolis, MN 55407
The Chatterbox is down to its original location in Minneapolis, the restaurant is as fun as ever, with retro board games, a sentimental list of video games like Atari and vintage Nintendo and a quirky, welcoming vibe. Games can be checked out for a buck each and enjoyed over a build-your-own pizza and some smokin’ wings.
2229 E 35th St
Minneapolis, MN 55407

11. Hot Plate

5204 Bloomington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55417
We dare you to walk through the doors of Hot Plate in South Minneapolis and not crack a smile. It’s a visual circus of kitchy art and nick nacks, complete with Rock Em Sock Em Robots (not for the kiddoes only). Classic diner breakfast dishes like the Drive-Thru Sandwich or carnitas scramble make for a comforting daylight hours date.
5204 Bloomington Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55417

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