TheQuick: The UpDown

If you’ve been radical enough to give the Coup D’Tat review a gander then you’re somewhat acquainted with the Uptown district in Miniapple. Now imagine if you will, that just a skeeball toss away, and swaddled in the Lyn-Lake area of Minneapolis, a place lying in wait. A spot whose interior design resembles that of a garage, but one that’s filled with memories of childhood glory. A pad littered with lights, music, and tokens just waiting for you to reclaim your greatness and fulfill your destiny. A totally tubular kind of haven called The UpDown.

The Lyn-Lake district which houses the UpDown has a litany of tantalizing tidbits for whatever your fetish may be. If you like food from almost every ethnic flavor they got you. Since it is pretty much an extension of uptown you can count on being  up to your plaid shirt in eateries and hipster sanctuaries. From Sushi to bean burritos, and all the way out to whatever the hell the ominous establishments identifying as gastropubs have to offer, east of uptown has it all. If you’re feeling like theater, odd food combinations, obscure drinks, as well as a smelly helping of bowling with a side of scoring by hand, they totally have Bryant Lake Bowl. If you happen to be that hipster with a hankering for black bean hummus and multiple taps of beer to ignore as you ironically ask for a PBR tallboy, then the hipster friendly Muddy Waters in the district has your man bun. If you’re into watching some gnarly, and not so gnarly improv up and comers, take a trip to the Huge Theater for a show or join up and take the stage.

So within this fog of eateries, bars, and theater, my posse braved through a foreseeable snow storm that never manifested, and found this lighthouse amidst the haze. We found this UpDown east of Uptown. Out front of the UpDown, a meager and desolate patio adorned with life-sized Jenga and Connect Four. This inviting but barren patio display was no doubt abandoned due to the storm that never came.

We made our way inside and akin to stepping out of a DeLorean in 1985, we stepped back in time. The UpDown is a an arcade catering to the days of old. It takes a totally choice step back that’s so rad, that it even has displays playing old movies like the Goonies, Mad Max, and that weird one with the giant stuffed poodle that flew around with a Hispanic on its back. Whatever the hell the name of the film was I can’t recall, but it seemed never ending. The place also serves alcohol and the highly coveted Mac and Cheese pizza. I’m aware that some would call this place a barcade but gimme a break, it’s really just a different strokes thing. For me and the crew this spot was the Erin Gray to our silver spoons. With the zeal and tenacity of a scorned Sugarbaker woman I power walked to the bar keep, slapped a Jackson on the counter and said, gimme tokens dude. In short order I discovered that it happened to be dime a token night, when handed a towering mound of cups filled with golden arcade tokens. An 80’s version of a golden shower bestowed upon me to which I howled like Alf whenever he said non-funny jokes (every episode). At any rate we were in a different world now and there was a room full of high scores that needed our initials. Now it’s unclear as to whether it was due to the libations or my being of an age that actually remembers the 80’s quite fondly. However still, me and the crew attacked every arcade game from Popeye to Donkey Kong with the ferocity of supernatural gaming juggernauts, that even some Sicilians would argue was inconceivable. The machines seemed unable to match our hand eye coordination. Ms. Pac Man would tire about five boards into the game. Arkanoid didn’t even start up it was so afraid. Even the mighty and usually unchallenged Tron arcade game bowed down to my supremacy. Nonetheless as aforementioned, in short order trigger fingers ached, there was yelling at toy shotguns not killing zombies fast enough, and outright weeping at the lack of places to sit in the place. A once youthful vigor filled with glee and nervous anticipation at the slow and smooth insert of every token into arcade slot. The once rabid pace of thrusting, and fingering your way through game after game and gaining access into the annals of high score history, now completely spent. All of the bliss, devolved into an alcohol and age induced fog. We had lost our edge to the point that one of our crew was accosted and schooled by an awkwardly overzealous hipster in the game of tabletop Track and Field ( I can still here the sensei’s voice, “use your elbows and come in confident”). In as little as four hours we had gone from Three’s Company to full on Roper’s. From the highs and swagger of being Rick Hunter to becoming the forgettable sidekick McCall, or the Tubbs to the proverbial Crockett. A sad realization, but like whatevs they had pizza to help us power back up and we still had five pounds of tokens to spend.

On all accounts the UpDown is a good spot to hang out, play games, and grab a variety of brews. They’ve got a little something for everybody needing to get in touch with their inner golden child. On my visit they even had two out of four skeeball machines working. However skeeball seems to lose some luster when you’re not struggling to get tickets for useless toys out of them things. The crowd was a good mix of all types and the staff was totally bitchin. The prices seemed reasonable, the pizza at five bucks per slice not so much. Nevertheless as I always say around this time, don’t take my word for it make up your own damn mind. Here’s the quick:

The Good

  • It’s got a good cross section of classic arcade games to include the obscure oddity called Moonwalker (yeah the Michael Jackson video game).
  • They have patio games on a front and back patio so you can feel free to jenga from the back if the feeling strikes you.
  • They have nightly specials for the fiscal conservative in you.
  • The older the game, the less waiting to get a crack at it.

The Bad

  • The arcade driving game is lacking; Out Run and Paperboy, but no Pole Position, or Spy Hunter, come on.
  • It can get crowded and finding a seat becomes a game in itself.
  • When they burn the pizza the whole place feels like a school room cafeteria.
  • Many won’t understand half the 80’s references you drop on em.
  • The patrons could stand to be a tad more sociable, but then again my Tron and Ms. Pac Man skills are intimidating.

The WTF

  • They also have a Nintendo 64 which while out of time has the type of wear and tear on it I haven’t seen since Ally Sheedy’s movie career.
  • No matter how many times you ask they won’t add a Rocky style chase the chicken pen to the back patio.
  • They have the game Moonwalker.

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