Insert Coins MPLS Grand Opening Review

Insert Coins, which they claim to be Interactive Nightlife, a Videolounge Gamebar and a Nightclub is a unique new take on the nightclub experience by mixing the loud music and dance floor of a club with the nerd world of video games. At first, an experience like that sounds like it could either be the best mixture in the world, or it could be a shameless pull for a new crowd into the world of downtown nightlife. Insert Coins originally started in Las Vegas, Nevada and was apparently successful enough that they decided to add one in downtown Minneapolis, calling it “Level 2”. Grand opening night was this past evening and the turnout was unsurprisingly good, but will they decide to come back for another round?

Obviously, the main theme for Insert Coins is the video games, appealing to a community of people who you normally wouldn’t find out in a nightclub on a Friday night. Classic arcade machines line the walls of both floors, ranging from Street Fighter II to Missile Command with the trackball controller. Behind each bar you will find many large screen televisions which have various PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 games playing on them. Bartenders will give you a controller so that you can play them, but you have to sit at the bar to do so, making it a hassle for other people to come and get drinks if they want to. Scattered throughout the club are VIP bottle service sections, each of which have their own private video game stations that you and your friends can play your favorite console games on. If you’re looking to come and play some video games with your friends, this can be a good place to do so.

Don’t expect to come to Insert Coins and not spend some money, however. With the lowest parking fee in the area being $5, cover charge on most nights being $10, alcoholic drinks costing anywhere from $6 to $8 and water costing an incredible $4 for a small bottle, this venue is not a place for those who are tight on cash. The arcade machines spread throughout the club each cost around $0.50 to play and change can be gotten from the bartenders and the games that you can play at the bar on their larger screens are free of charge, as long as someone else isn’t playing on it already. In the near future, they are also planning on offering food options as well, however prices on those are no better on your wallet.

If you are a fan of club mixes of pop music, you’ll enjoy Insert Coins. Keeping with the nightclub norm, pop music rules the dance floor, with a little bit of hip-hop, 80s, 90s and some very select EDM (electronic dance music) songs mixed in between. The DJ for opening night, however, was not your best DJ. Poor mixes, rapid song changes and horrendous cross fading from one song to the next made those who care about the music cringe. And the shameless use of video game sound effects button mashed into songs did not fit well. If you’re looking to dance, though, you’ll enjoy this venue. Where there are a lot of nerds, you find a lot of people who can’t dance very well, making everyone comfortable with dancing around other people. Early in the night, the dance floor was sparse, to say the least, but as the night reached it’s midnight climax, the dance floor was packed.

The good thing is that if you are a nerd or a video game lover, there will be people there to meet and talk to who have similar interests as you, something of which is not as easy to find if you were to go out to a regular club. Starting up a conversation at the bar with someone about the video game on the screen is a good ice breaker. However, Insert Coins is still a nightclub so there’s still a feel that it doesn’t belong when walking throughout the venue. The bartenders are, naturally, large chested ladies with a lot of makeup. There is nothing against having these people be your bartenders, as many places do, but it still seems to be a bit stereotypical to have girls like this in a nerdy environment.

Insert Coins is something different for a new crowd to get in to meeting some new people. While opening night was packed, it remains to be seen what will happen in the near future. Holding events at this venue just doesn’t seem like a very viable option with the high cost of drinks and a lot of standing room, unless you spread people out amongst the entire venue. If you are a nerd, checking Insert Coins out at least once isn’t a bad idea, just to see for yourself what it’s like, but it doesn’t seem like a viable option for a place to visit multiple times a week. Insert Coins is located on First Ave North in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota and is open Tuesday through Sunday.

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