Blast from the past: St. Louis Sci-Fi Lounge
Gamers, toy collectors, artists and concert-goers of St. Louis unite: There is now a place for you to share your eclectic passions. The Sci-Fi Lounge, located a short walk from campus at 6010 Kingsbury Ave., offers a unique escape to a world of all things nostalgic and entertaining. While the Sci-Fi Lounge is in a relatively quiet residential area, the 10-foot rooster statue and giant, rusty spaceship outside the building set it apart from the other Tudor-style buildings on the block. And with an entrance like that, the inside does not disappoint.
It’s hard to focus your eyes on just one thing when you enter the Sci-Fi Lounge. There are hundreds of toys and action figures on the shelves, several old-school arcade games against the walls, and a variety of skulls and skeletons dangling throughout. Beyond the entryway, there is a small but funky stage where artists can perform, as well as several chairs and tables for lounging.
The owner, who goes by Coyote, tried to explain the lounge as “a toy museum…for people to hang out in.” Coyote, who graduated from Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in graphic communications and illustration in 1998, brought his passion for art and comics to the lounge. After a nearby café closed, Coyote decided to open up his art studio for locals to hang out in 2005. “There are so many places you go to like movies, and you pay $10 to sit down and not talk to each other. I wanted to have a place a lot simpler than that,” Coyote explained.
Indeed, the Sci-Fi Lounge brings back memories of simpler times with its vast assortment of figures, from Batman to Darth Vader to Godzilla. Coyote began collecting these toys in 1998, and there are even melted figures on display from when his childhood room burned down. There is also artwork throughout the café that was created by Coyote and other local artists. Many of the pieces Coyote makes come from recycled materials and donations.
After getting over the initial shock of the place, there are many things you can do at the Sci-Fi Lounge. You can play the arcade games, which cost only a quarter and feature a handwritten high-score list. You can also have fun with classic Atari and Nintendo game systems and challenge others to a friendly, old-school competition. The Sci-Fi Lounge offers an array of your favorite board games like Monopoly and Apples to Apples as well. And, if you’re hungry, there are a variety of refreshments, including Moon Pies, candy and soda for only $1. Oh, and Wi-Fi is also available for free at the lounge.
Aside from providing visitors with fun games to play, the Sci-Fi Lounge also has weekly movie nights and concerts. For $10 a month, you can join the weekly movie club (aptly called the A.V. Club), which meets Wednesdays from 8 p.m. to midnight and watches rare and unusual films at the lounge. In addition, on Thursday and Friday nights, the Sci-Fi Lounge plays host to eclectic local bands; on Saturday afternoons, more punk and metal artists are usually featured. As Coyote explained, “We’ve done everything from having art shows to having bands. I try to focus on local artists and help local musicians.”
When you come to the Sci-Fi Lounge, you never know what to expect. Whether you end up watching a concert, debating the coolest action figures or chowing down on your favorite childhood treats, you’re sure to have a unique and out-of-this-world experience.