Minneapolis is known for its craft beer. That’s a fact. Nothing is more refreshing on a beautiful, breezy day in the Twin Cities than enjoying your favorite brew. And earlier this summer, a new bar opened in Uptown that combines that refreshment with something else I love: casual gaming. Up-Down Minneapolis has only been open for a couple months, but it’s my new favorite place to meet up with friends.
The first time I walked through the doors at Up-Down, my jaw just about hit the floor. Skee ball greeted me to my right, but it was a very busy attraction. I didn’t get a chance to challenge my partner for a game, but that leaves me another reason among many to return. The bar offers a unique experience of gaming outside with its “life-size” Jenga and Connect Four variants. When I visited, it was one of those rare summer days without humidity, so I played a couple rounds of Connect Four. (I really wanted to try Jenga, but I didn’t get the chance.)
Eventually, I found my way to the bar. Up-Down lists on its website that it has over 60 beers on tap at any given moment. After reading over the incredibly lengthy list, I ordered a pale ale because I love lighter beer. My partner, on the other hand, decided to try a pineapple hard cider. I have a couple friends who hate the taste of beer, so I loved that there were other options for things to drink—this cider was so fruity and delightful. My partner was not keen on me stealing sips, but that’s how good it was. Up-Down’s drink menu won’t ever get old unless you have already been there 60 times to taste everything on it.
Beer is good, but the arcade games are even better. Each game is around one or two coins; amazingly cheap. I bought $5 worth of coins and it lasted me the entire day. (Seriously, $5—what a cheap date!) I played each pinball game around three times because I wasn’t running out of coins. Ghostbusters, Family Guy, Iron Man . . . name a franchise and there’s probably a machine for it here. I kicked butt at Family Guy pinball because at one point I had three balls in play at once. I pat myself on the back for that.
Are you a fan of Wreck-It Ralph, that dazzling animated film that spoke to every gamer everywhere? Well never fear, because Fix-It Felix is located at Up-Down. It’s a rather frustrating game and one that I’m not particularly good at. Ralph clearly kept me on my toes, as I never scored above 1,000 points. If anyone has any tips on how to score above 1,000 points, I would be delighted to hear them.
The only downside to Up-Down is parking. Uptown and the surrounding areas are known for their parking problems, and that’s not something that the business can really change, though Lyn-Lake isn’t as bad as some places. When we went, we ended up parking in a lot a block or two away, and if (unlike me) you have parallel-parking skills, then you can definitely find street parking nearby. Don’t let the fear of parking stop you from visiting this fabulous, geek-friendly place.
Up-Down honestly provides a great atmosphere, awesome drinks, and fun games. It’s a place for a local hangout between friends or a fun place to bring a date. In the meantime, I will be practicing my pinball skills so when I go back, I can set a high score.