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Written by Matt "snorkle256" Nolan   
Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Where do you find food, drinks and video games?
A) AppleBees
B) The Chatterbox Pub
C) My Basement

If you answered B, then you are correct.  While “My Basement” is technically correct, it is not the socially acceptable answer that I was looking for.  The Chatterbox Pub is a nice local bar and grill serving both St. Paul and Minneapolis with its two locations.  I'd never known about its existence if it were not for a friend from work.  After finishing up the work day, we headed to this  fabled “promised land” for food, socializing, and games to see just what it was all about.

As soon as we walked in the door we were greeted with a friendly face and an offer to play a board game.  I declined as I don't enjoy analog games as much as I do digital ones.  As soon as we were seated, our host set us up with some of the Buzztime trivia which is one of the best ways to spend time while waiting for food.  I sipped on my delicious Chatterbox Lager - one of their own creations.  (I like beer, to say the least, but I know a good beer when I taste it and this was one of those.)  My companion was having difficulty choosing from their wine selections, but the waiter was kind enough to bring out a few samples.  Nothing is better than a little bit of free booze while finding the one that suites you. 

When it came time to order, I had no other choice but to order a burger.  How could I resist the “Choose Your Own Adventure Burger”?  The entree is named as such because there are several choices on how it is prepared.  Other highlights on the menu included fresh homemade focaccia and ciabatta breads as well as hand made pizza crust.  We made short work of what turned out to be a delicious meal, and finished our trivia game.  Finally, we moved on to what we really came for: the videogames.

For just a minimal fee (put on my tab), I was able to sit down with one of their retro consoles.  They have a Sega Genesis and an Atari 2600 available, but I was drawn to the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) as it was the system I bonded with the most as a youth.  The small fee you pay actually goes back into the systems in terms of maintenance, restorations, and repairs. 

I began with Super Mario Bros 2, but quickly swapped the game for Super Mario Bros 3 as we found it easier for two person play. 

The Chatterbox has ample seating placed around a number of LCD TVs.  I counted six TVs setup for people at the bar to enjoy themselves.  Although I had planned to explore some of the older games like Batman, Batman Returns, Ninja Gaiden or even Raiders of the Lost Ark, I ended up just playing the more familiar titles.  I suspect many people do the same, coming in to get a blast from not just the past, but their past.  Adding to this nostalgia, the Chatterbox was playing 80's music!

 If you bring friends that don't enjoy playing these types of videogames, be sure to tell them that the Golden Tee and the darts are free.

The highlight of my evening, was watching a family sitting down at one of the NES.  Children who weren't even born when the system was released were able to enjoy its splendor, even now, decades later.  The Chatterbox is a bit of a working hands-on museum.  My friend and I had an enjoyable night and you can be certain that I will be going again sometime soon.


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Last Updated ( Thursday, 24 April 2008 )

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