The new Up-Down in Uptown immediately feels like you’ve walked into 1985. Ms. Pac Man is flashing on one screen and the Mario Bros. on another, with 50 more vintage arcade games hugging every wall, swarmed by eager twenty- to forty-something-year-olds. There’s beeping, buzzing, pinging, and powing, with a whole lot of blinking. And beer. Lots of beer. All in all, it’s like Chuck E. Cheese’s meets Buffalo Wild Wings, with a splash of Chatterbox Pub nerd-ness and a hint of CC Club hipster-ness.
Up-Down, a arcade bar that has locations in Des Moines and Kansas City, made its way to LynLake two weeks ago. And guys, it’s pretty legit—it makes Dave & Buster’s look like a child’s arena.
And the best part—Up-Down is for everyone (that is, everyone who’s 21+). Whether you have a love affair with ‘80s arcade games or have just dabbled in the Atari video games at your Uncle Richard’s house, there’s a game worth your quarter at Up-Down (yes, every game is a token, equivalent to 25 cents). Goodbye, laundry money.
With quarter games and a full-service bar, plus more than 60 beers on tap and a heavy nod to local craft brews, you can easily set up camp at Up-Down all night. So gather your quarters, strap on your fanny pack, and let this guide lead you to the arcade machines that best suit you:
Games for the Group
Grab a buddy for Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker, where you dance, save captives, and—of course—shoot people. Wrestle Fest, X-Men, and Pac Man Battle Royale are also great bets for four to six people. If it’s just you and your sweet other, add a little romance to the night with Smash TV where you both—together—will shoot hordes of bad dudes attacking from all sides. Oh-fer-cute. Venture out to the patio for life-size Connect Four and Jenga. Oh, and don’t miss Nintendo 64 Mario Cart projected on a large screen.
Games for the Dabbler
Classics, like Galaga, (Ms.) Pac Man, and Tetris, never go out of style, and they’re perfect for the less experienced gamer who’s just looking to have a good time. Any machine with a pedal is also fair game for the dabblers, like Hydro Thunder. If you want to try your luck as a bartender, play Tapper, where you pour beer and serve customers before time runs out. The four lanes of Skeeball and 10 Pinball machines are never a disappointment either.
Games for the Aficionado
If you’re the “I’m going to wear my fanny pack to hold my tokens, and I don’t care” type of an arcade game buff, and scoff at games such as Donkey Kong Jr., challenge yourself to the games that require more dexterity, like Dig Dug, Super Mario Bros., and House of the Dead III.
Games for the Pizza Chowers
Holy jumbo slices of pizza! Up-Down has pizza by the slice for only $3.50 and whole pies for $20 (there’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese pizza…just sayin’). But getting a slice doesn’t have to cut into your gaming time. Frogger and any racing games, like Out Run, are easy games to play one-handed as you chow down your cheesy slice of goodness.
‘I got dragged here and have zero interest in arcade games’
Who needs to play games when you can watch the epic battle of Stone Cold Steve Austin hitting The Rock over the head with a chair, body slamming him, and chugging a beer…or something like that? Sit at the bar and watch these WWF matches and many other nostalgic shows, like the original American Gladiators, Rocko’s Modern Life, and more, on large TVs scattered throughout the bar.
If You Go
Know the deals:
- Mondays: $1 off draft beers
- Tuesdays: $1 off local craft beer
- Wednesdays: $3 domestic tallboys
- Thursdays: 10-cent tokens
- Fridays: 20 free tokens for the first 100 customers
- Saturdays: two-for-one tokens from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Sundays: six domestic tallboys, 80 tokens, and an Up-Down fanny pack for $25