BND Magazine

August 17, 2014

Unkle Munkey's Coin Club: Going full tilt in Edwardsville

Unkle Munkey's Coin Club is a step back in time, with a twist. Walk in the front door and you're greeted with the flashing lights and the whirling, pinging sounds of pinball machines.

Unkle Munkey's Coin Club is a step back in time, with a twist.

Walk in the front door and you're greeted with the flashing lights and the whirling, pinging sounds of pinball machines. These are classics from decades ago that owner Ryan O'Day has had lovingly restored.

He wants you to play, but also hopes you'll linger to eat and drink.

"I think it's a great place for a first date," he said.

Appropriately, pinball wizard Tommy from The Who is there to greet you. So are The Addams Family, Batman Forever and Baywatch. They're among 52 pinball and arcade games -- think Tetris, Ms. Pac-man and a 1972 original TV Pong -- waiting for you to drop a quarter or two into the metal slot. Games cost 25 or 50 cents.

Ryan, 41, of Edwardsville, wanted to lure adults with nostalgic playtime, but kids who have never seen a pinball machine like it, too.

"Ah, I almost had it!" said Miller Stand, 13, of Edwardsville, as he flung his final shiny metal ball into the world of Jurassic Park, missing a big green dinosaur. Game over. He'd been at Unkle Munkey's for about 20 minutes, but had spent just a dollar or two. His dad, Tom, brought him the first time and showed him how to play.

"If I work at it, I can make a game last, but some are more challenging than others," he said. "Playing (video) games at home gets old sometimes."

Young players get to stay until 8 p.m. daily, then it's 18 or older only. On Sundays, though, kids can play all day.

"We really wanted something that would appeal to all ages," Ryan said.

Adults will enjoy the big bar with seven beer taps, signature cocktails like the Funkey Munkey ($5) and a menu that ranges from nachos to big sandwiches to pizza to soup and salad. It's all freshly made next door at Ryan's other business, Wang Gang, an Asian-fusion restaurant.

Try the Tortilla Soup ($5), Bruschetta ($6, with a tomato-basil blend topped with shredded Parmesan) and the Pimento Potato Salad ($5), mayo-based with Cheddar cheese, red and green onion and diced pimento.

The Mokoso Nachos ($7) are tortilla chips topped with corn, pineapple, bacon, jalapeno and a five-cheese blend. Thin-crust pizzas are $10-$13. Hot sammys come with house chips. Pick from seven, including the popular Hot Mess ($10), roast beef, pastrami and Swiss cheese with ranch dressing, sriracha sauce and giardiniera peppers on a baguette.

Cold sammys number five and can be served also as wraps. Try a favorite, The Henny Penny ($8), thin-sliced chicken breast, Granny Smith apple, arugula, blue cheese, red onion with cilantro-sesame aioli on toasted sourdough.

"People like our Hot Potatoes," added Ryan of the stuffed baked spuds. "They're huge!" And a meal: The '80s has braised beef, bacon, cheese blend, lettuce and crema topped with pico de gallo for $8. The '90s is a big potato topped with bacon, a caramelized blend of onions, red and green bell peppers and a five-cheese blend for $7.

Five Hot Dawwgs are on the menu, too, from $3 to $6 with chips.

A sideline is that Unkle Munkey is also refurbishing vintage machines.

"We're repairing games as a business. We've got a repair shop in the back and a couple techs who work with us," he said. "We also buy and sell games."

If you see one you like, make an offer. Ryan has more waiting to fill the space.

In fact, business has been so good, he's ready to expand to the empty space next door.

More games, more fun, he said.

Unkle Munkey's Coin Club

What: Pinball and arcade games, full bar, restaurant

Location: 1027 Century Drive, Edwardsville

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays to Wednesdays; to 11 p.m. Thursdays; to midnight Fridays and Saturdays. All ages to 8 p.m.; 18 and older after. All ages all day on Sunday.

Handicapped accessible: Yes

Information: 650-9107

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