May 4, 2023 - News

Liquor Lyle's gets new life as Litt Pinball Bar

The main bar at Litt Pinball Bar. Rendering: Rachel Kate Design via Litt Pinball Bar

The transformation of Liquor Lyle's from a dive bar to a pinball haven became official when two giant windows were punched into the walls this spring, allowing natural light into the beloved Lowry Hill spot.

Driving the news: The owners of Litt Pinball Bar (formerly known as Tilt) are currently converting the building that housed Liquor Lyle's into a pinball bar nearly triple the size of its Whittier location.

Why it matters: Liquor Lyle's was a beloved Minneapolis dive bar for nearly 50 years before it was put up for sale in 2021. News of its purchase by a pinball bar intrigued former patrons, residents and pinball fans alike.

  • We got a sneak peek of the new interior, still under construction, on Wednesday.

State of play: The crew has already added two large windows and several walls and made the previously low ceilings at least 12 feet high.

  • Litt kept Lyle's original bar, though it will get more beer taps and the side panels will be refurbished.

What to expect: Once complete, the 250-person space will hold 40–45 restored pinball machines, co-owner John Galvin told Axios. Cameras hung above several machines will broadcast the live play onto nearby TVs.

  • The Whittier location primarily serves hot dogs, but the larger Lowry Hill kitchen allows for a full bar food menu. The drinks will be pinball-themed.
  • Staff members will paint some of the murals and occasionally take over the new DJ booth.
Litt's largest game room. Rendering: Rachel Kate via Litt Pinball Bar

What they're saying: "The purchasing of Lyle's turned out to be very good PR. People are just excited and curious, and I think it's garnered more attention than if we were in another mixed-use building," co-owner Jasha Johnson said.

  • "We're excited to bring in a bit of natural light. Though people complained about that," Galvin said.

Zoom in: The team plans to reuse some of the sparkling red booths throughout and hang the iconic Lyle's sign in a back area, temporarily dubbed "the fresh air room" for its garage door-style windows.

  • However, the bar will not carry on Liquor Lyle's two-for-one drink specials or free wings, Galvin confirmed.

Between the lines: The future of Litt's existing location is up in the air; the owners haven't decided if they'll renew their lease when it ends at the end of June.

  • Just one room in this building is the size of the entire 80-person space in Whittier.

What's next: Now that the main structural elements are complete, Litt could open as soon as mid-summer.

Rendering: Rachel Kate Design via Litt Pinball Bar
Rendering: Rachel Kate Design via Litt Pinball Bar

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