Getting their game on at the new Chatterbox

The popular Chatterbox Pub opens a St. Paul outpost, complete
with board games, video games and a bunch of sore thumbs.

Tom Horgen


Last update: May 11, 2006 – 2:26 PM

"Rock solid" is a phrase I heard uttered by a young man as he sat down with friends to play one of the old-school Nintendo video games at the new Chatterbox Pub in St. Paul.

He then added "rad," "tubular," and my favorite, "gnarly."

Just kidding. I can't help it, though. This place just brings out the '80s kid in everyone.

It's inspired by the neighborhood bar of the same name in south Minneapolis, which, even on weeknights, packs in hipsters longing for beer-filled evenings of "Battleship" and "Super Mario Bros."

The owners have expanded on that retro concept. The new bar is three times the size of the original, with more vintage sofas, funky lamps, black vinyl diner booths and bad landscape paintings straight from Grandma's house. They've boosted their gaming, too.

Instead of two old box TVs on which to play Nintendo and Atari games, this one sports five flat-screen TVs.

The new Chatterbox is in the Highland Park area of St. Paul (in an old Perkins). Workers said the bar is supposed to reflect its new neighborhood, as opposed to just replicating the other one's south Minneapolis charm. Indeed, this one feels a bit more, uh, chipper.

Old Chatterbox regulars will be surprised to find a host at the front door offering a cheery, "Welcome to the Chatterbox! Care for a board game?" Some might argue this sequel to their beloved neighborhood bar isn't even in a neighborhood. It's across from Barnes & Noble in Highland's commercial district and is actually -- cough -- attached to the side of a Ford Parkway strip mall.

Regardless, there's still no other bar in the Twin Cities quite like it (except for the original).

Where else can you throw down brews while shaking your fist at the mighty King Koopa in public?


Tip: Its menu expands on the original Minneapolis location's gourmet bar food. Besides great sandwiches, it now serves breakfast and an assortment of dinner entrees, such as slow-cooked pot roast and homemade mushroom meatloaf. • 612-673-7909.


Midtown Minneapolis:   
2229 E 35th Street    (612)345-4481


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