I was out of town this past weekend to send my brother-in-law off into despair (marriage) and had a little time to knock around while the wife and daughter were getting their hair done. I remembered a post at some point a month or so ago where someone had mentioned a new pinball place that was opening in Asheville. I checked on-line and wouldn't you believe my luck, it had just opened a few days before my arrival. I decided that I had to check this out.
The Asheville Pinball Museum is located at 1 Battle Square, Suite 1A, right in the middle of the downtown shopping and dining district. Parking is a nightmare of course (you know this if you know Asheville), but there is a nice parking deck only a block away, which was very convenient. The location is great for foot traffic and being around the more "touristy" district is perfect for this type of business.
I arrived just a little after 12:00 p.m., the first customer, and was greeted at the door by the owner, T.C., and his lovely wife, Brandy. I introduced myself, we chatted a little about pinball, and T.C. gave me a tour of the place. I was really intrigued by the atmosphere and the types of machines that were in the place. I believe that their website states that they have about 27 machines and I believe that this is a pretty fair account of the number that were there. The majority of the machines were woodrails, EMs and early SS titles, though they did have a few DMDs (Flintstones and TAF are the few that I recall). The variety really gives it a true "museum" appeal. See the list of the machines I remember below. Sorry, I don't remember the names of most of the very early EMs and woodrails, hopefully T.C., or others of you can help me fill this in.
The place is set up like a museum and has cards on top of each machine that notes the name of the machine, the year, the designer(s), and a few random facts about the machine or the era in which it was made. Several of the EMs had the backs taken off and were replaced with plexiglass. Since the EMs were located on the upper level, you could see through them on the lower level and watch the reels and mechanics work while others were playing; again, a really neat feature that added to the museum feel. The machines were in working order and the museum even has a small shop area that is roped off where the mechanics can work on new machines that come in. There were a few cabinets and heads there that looked ready to be be fixed and it's really neat that they chose to leave this area open to public view. As we all know, maintenance is a big part of it, so why not include it?
The machines at the Asheville Pinball Museum are in average condition, except for an impeccable Night Moves cocktail. They are mostly players machines, but everything I played, worked well and appeared to be maintained. Sorry, you want find any sleek, new Sterns here right now, but you may in the future. I spoke to T.C. a little about his plans for the museum and whether or not he had a certain cut-off date for the machines he was including. He seemed to be open to any and all machines and I believe he wants to keep the line-up very diverse. He mentioned that he wanted to keep games flowing in an out of the place to keep the line-up fresh.
The price for admission is $10 per person and allows for unlimited play on all of the machines. Once you pay your admission, you can get a pass that allows for admission through out the day in case you want to leave and enjoy some of the other fine parts of Asheville's downtown. They sell a variety of beverages for all (including cans of beer) and some light snacks. They also have a lounge area with a big screen TV, if pinball is not your spouse's thing. Shirts are only $11 and come in various colors and sizes.
The Asheville Pinball Museum is a great, family-oriented place where you can go to play a nice variety of machines. The owners are super nice and hospitable and I got as much enjoyment out of talking to them as I did playing their pins (If you know me, you know I did more talking ;D). If you are ever in the area, or live nearby, please go in and show your support for another great place to play pinball in NC.
Currently line-up (from what I recall) includes:
The Amazing Spider-man
Harlem Globetrotters on Tour
Lost World (1978)
The Simpsons (1990)
The Addams Family
Bobby Orr Power Play