BEST VIDEO ARCADE (1999)
When you're downtown, it's all about having options. Beer and rye for breakfast? No problem--there's sure to be a dive near the parking ramp. A noon-hour romance? It's the Whitney if you're serious, the Hilton for a quick getaway. Need to stretch that coffee break into a lazy afternoon, wander no further than Pop's. Dark and cool seven days a week (10:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 1:00 a.m. Sunday), this 15-year-old ghost of Block E is as noirish as it gets in the shadow of the Target Center. There's no virtual reality and there are no flight simulators--just a string of slow-blinking red Christmas lights for atmosphere, classic rock 'n' roll (courtesy of KQRS), eight well-kept pinball machines, and a bevy of gaming staples like Blitz 99, Tekken 3, the King of Fighters, and Cruisin'. A couple of vending machines are available to keep the hard-core nourished on Fritos and Coke. During school hours kids are banned from the premises. So from nine to five, most everyone in the joint is clicking and bumping in the same groove, looking for a little action to blast through the grind of the workday.