Skip to Content
Food & Drink

Litt Pinball Bar Just Leveled Up

The old Liquor Lyle’s space is Litt.

Dustin Nelson

A yellow, orange, and blue stripe runs along the side of the former Liquor Lyle’s building in Uptown. It streaks across a black facade, terminating at an orange door with two pinball flippers crossed like the bones of a Jolly Roger. 

Inside, you’re greeted by a plexiglass wall holding hundreds of small, silver pinballs. There's the din of pinball sound effects, orders yelled out across the bar, and a DJ all jostling to be heard. 

This is the new Litt Pinball Bar, a drastic expansion from Litt's humbler (and now former) home on 26th Street in Whittier. When it opened in 2017 (it was called Tilt then; owners had to change its name for legal reasons and so scrambled the letters to make Litt) the concept was simple: It was a welcoming place to have a drink, hang out, and play some pinball. 

The colorful exterior of Litt's new home on HennepinDustin Nelson

Closing Night

Those low-key vibes clicked for a lot of people. With 25 pinball machines, a handful of taps, and hot dogs slung from a small kitchen, Litt did what every bar hopes to do: build a loyal base. Whether you came in on a weekday afternoon or midnight on a Friday, there were familiar faces focused on pinball. There was a Cheers-like quality to it. 

On October 5, a week before the new space on Hennepin would open its doors, those regulars said goodbye to the bar on 26th. A DJ, one of Litt’s bartenders, stood at a table set out on the floor in a packed bar with players lined up at every machine. Regulars greeted each other outside and groups cradled beers, watching each other play new releases like Venom alongside classic games like the sepia-toned Eight Ball Deluxe. 

Look at all that room to move around!Dustin Nelson

This space clearly meant something to a lot of folks who'd made lasting memories in the building and went out of their way to take in one last night in Whittier. And if that jovial atmosphere wasn’t enough proof that Litt was a place that held special significance for visitors, tributes to the old space littered Instagram for days after the closing: posts of high scores, photos of the cramped bar, or one last bathroom mirror selfie. 

That outpouring of love was about place and community, even if they all knew the same games and bartenders would greet them the following week just a mile down the road. 

Opening Night

Many of the same faces were hanging around the bar and playing rounds of Galactic Tank Force as Litt opened its doors on Hennepin this week, showing off big changes centered around the same concept.

Inside the new Litt, guests are greeted by a long horseshoe bar offering more than three times the stools available at the old address. In fact, the entire bar is roughly three times as big as the original. 

A bigger bar means more to drink.Dustin Nelson

The increased space has allowed for an expanded food menu that now includes burgers and fries in addition to the sandwiches, hot dogs, and bar snacks it used to feature. That horseshoe bar also features an increased tap selection, as well as the previously available cocktails and THC drinks. 

Regulars of Liquor Lyle’s may recognize little holdovers like the wood dividers from the original space or preserved signage in the bathroom. Co-owner John Galvin had told Racket last year that they planned to keep elements of Liquor Lyle’s alive at Litt. 

However, plenty of other aspects, such as an elevated DJ booth just off the bar, are brand new. Those additions are nice, but the driving force behind Litt has always been its impressive array of pinball machines, which are some of the best-maintained games you’ll find. Additionally, Galvin and his staff go to great lengths to make sure the bar has the latest releases almost as soon as they’re released. Now there’s more space to show off those shiny new machines. 

Dustin Nelson

Litt has upgraded from 25 games in a claustrophobic space to nearly 50 with plenty of room to breathe and gather. It has also added pinball-centric amenities like one bank of games that have cameras mounted to the ceiling above the pinball tables, projecting the playfield onto a TV above each game, allowing players to stand back and watch others on the machine without having to crowd around the table. 

The new space is just… more. More taps. More seats. More food. More games. More pinball-inspired murals. More TVs. And a more Uptown-y vibe. Litt has done away with much of the dive bar feel that came from a smaller footprint and not having a space tailored to its purpose. Now, everything feels planned, yet the focus remains the same. It’s a welcoming place to hang out and play some pinball with friends. 

Litt Pinball Bar
Address: 2021 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis
Opens: Thursday, October 12, 11 a.m.
Hours: Monday - Friday, 2 p.m. - 2 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. - 2 a.m.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Racket

There Were Too Many People at the Waxahatchee Show!

This was not the ideal way to experience the mild turmoil of Katie Crutchfield's country-rock.

April 23, 2024

Everyone Is Being Super Normal About Isra Hirsi’s Arrest

Plus RIP Sammy McDowell, MN's new Supreme Court judges, and a Best Buy throwback in today's Flyover news roundup.

April 22, 2024

Cornbread’s 97th, Keith Haring at WAC, Homeboy Sandman: This Week’s Best Events

Plus Art in Bloom, Fred Armisen, and last call for the Saint Paul Art Crawl and MSPIFF.

April 22, 2024