(Topic ID: 170424)

The 10 Best Pinball Locations in America are...


By stepside

3 years ago



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    There are 82 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
    #1 3 years ago

    I'm thinking about a road trip to seek out the country's best on-location pinball, so I thought I'd start a friendly discussion and seek out pinside's advice on the country's top ten "must-see" spots for pins.

    How would we rank them? Certainly not just by number of machines, but consider also condition/upkeep, accessibility (open to public? In a 21+ venue? Limited hours?), ambiance, amenities (food, drinks, events/tournaments, vids, music).

    To simplify, let's omit conventions/expos from the conversation, as well as private clubs/collections.
    Who knows, maybe if this thread is popular enough, Pinside might consider adding a "Top 100" for locations that Pinsiders can contribute to by rating sites.

    So... let's hear about your favorites and why!

    10
    #2 3 years ago

    Pinballz Austin, TX has got to be on there.

    #3 3 years ago

    Pinball Wizard, Pelham New Hampshire. Heard though may be closing at year end? Awesome place.

    #6 3 years ago
    Quoted from stepside:

    The 10 best pinball locations in America are...

    1) my game room
    2) my friend Rick's game room
    3) was going to list Galaxy World, but they've been gone for guite a while now
    4) was going to list Dave & Busters, but they haven't had any pins for quite some time
    5) was going to list my friend Mark's basement, but we always just stay out in his garage

    So I guess I have only two top locations to play pinball.

    #7 3 years ago

    Portland, Oregon
    Reason #1 - more pins on location than anywhere else in the country
    #2 - more strip clubs per capita than any city in the USA
    #3 - #1 brew pub city in the USA
    #4 - Weed is legal in Oregon

    Is there really a contest?

    #8 3 years ago

    Denver and its suburbs up to Fort Collins

    1up Colfax Denver CO, 46 pins, all .50 but The Hobbit at $1 -Monthly Tournament and Annual Tournament - Bar
    1up Lodo Denver CO, 25ish pins all .50 but The Hobbit $1 - Monthly Tournament and Annual Tournament - Food / Bar
    Lyons Classic Pinball, Lyons CO, 35ish pins .50-$1 - Just Pinball - Monthly Tournament and Annual Tournament
    Arapahoe Bowl, Denver CO, maybe 20 pins .75 and up - Bowling, food, bar
    Pinball Jones, Fort Collins CO 25ish pins .50 and up - Bar (beer only)- Monthly Tournament and Annual Tournament
    Three Kings Tavern, Denver CO, 8? or so pins .50 - Bar
    Cuckoos Nest, Denver Co, 8 or so pins .50 + - Bar / Food
    Press Play, Boulder CO 12-15ish pins .50+ Bar, pizza upstairs - Monthly Tournament
    Hyperspace Arcade, Lakewood CO,Expanding pins to around 20 i think, Freeplay arcade with cover charge - just pins and arcades - Monthly Tournament
    Wonderland Brewing, Broomfield CO, 10? pins, .75+, Beer / food , Monthly Tournament

    15
    #9 3 years ago

    SS Billiards Hopkins, MN

    Quoted from stepside:

    condition/upkeep,

    Very good.

    Quoted from stepside:

    accessibility (open to public? In a 21+ venue? Limited hours?

    Open to public noon to midnight Monday thru Saturday & 2pm to 10pm on Sunday. Not 21+

    Pinball pictures and neons. Rare pins. Often testing games and updates. Me.

    Quoted from stepside:

    amenities (food, drinks,

    Pop and candy. You can bring in food. No alcohol.

    On hold. Might have something soon for new pins.

    Radio for background effects.

    LTG : )
    Disclaimer : I am biased.

    #10 3 years ago

    My garage.

    #11 3 years ago

    My garage has about 10 pins, and I'd love to have someone play them besides me!!

    Seriously though, Replay (museum) in Tarpon Springs Fl, (Suburban Tampa/st Pete area) has mostly. New games, and a handful of Ems. And maybe 15 videos.. $13 for all day.

    In St. Petersburg there is the Treaure Islamd Fun center - but I haven't been there is ages. Stop n play in new port richer has possibly 5 pins, unforunately they are usually in poor working order.

    #12 3 years ago

    VFW in Ann Arbor (alright....... Green Oaks Township, Brighton, whatever)
    Only one major open house weekend a year though.

    #13 3 years ago

    One of the best locations I've been to is Flippers in the outer banks. It's a great road trip/vacation spot and worth the play. I use to play at pinballz in Austin alot and it's great. In Cleveland there are 3 awesome locations. Superelectric, Kidforce and Stonehenge

    #14 3 years ago

    Seattle, as great as Portland minus the strip clubs

    #15 3 years ago

    I nominate Zanzabar in Louisville, KY. A great variety of new and older pins, good food, a good bar and live music in the evenings.

    Added over 3 years ago: Ed: I forgot to mention that the location is a former speakeasy, famous during Prohibition.

    #16 3 years ago

    I think the OP wants specific pinball locations, not cities.

    #17 3 years ago

    The Pinballz locations in Austin, TX are cool, but The Game Preserve in Houston is pretty awesome.

    #18 3 years ago

    Silverball Museum, Asbury Park, NJ
    Silverball Museum, Delray Beach, FL (Haven't been, but heard the new one was good too)
    Morristown Game Vault, Morristown, NJ <- Amazing spot for pinball, even more amazing for retro arcade machines if you're into that, great prices

    All are admission based with all games on free play.

    #19 3 years ago
    Quoted from DocOck:

    Pinball Wizard, Pelham New Hampshire. Heard though may be closing at year end? Awesome place.</blockquote

    I hope that's just an ugly rumor.

    #20 3 years ago
    Quoted from bdPinball:

    My garage has about 10 pins, and I'd love to have someone play them besides me!!
    Seriously though, Replay (museum) in Tarpon Springs Fl, (Suburban Tampa/st Pete area) has mostly. New games, and a handful of Ems. And maybe 15 videos.. $13 for all day.
    In St. Petersburg there is the Treaure Islamd Fun center - but I haven't been there is ages. Stop n play in new port richer has possibly 5 pins, unforunately they are usually in poor working order.

    Treasure Island Fun Center was the first place I played the Doctor Who pin. They are in Seminole now and I don't know if they still have pins.

    #21 3 years ago

    Pinball Wizard Arcade. Second most pinballs in one spot in the country and another 100+ arcades

    #23 3 years ago

    Seattle Pinball Museum!

    #24 3 years ago

    If we're talking quality, Sunshine Laundromat in Brooklyn is pretty hard to beat.

    #25 3 years ago

    http://danddpinball.com/index.php

    Nice place to stop at if you are in Tucson.

    new-entrance-lr (resized).jpg

    #26 3 years ago

    Cp pinball in south Roxana Illinois is awesome and one of the best collections in the country.

    #27 3 years ago

    Nickelrama in garland Texas has every new stern of recent years and they take nickels instead of quarters for credits. Cool place.

    #28 3 years ago

    Americas playable arcade museum in McLean Illinois is the other place I will mention. A dedicated building just for pinballs is being built now which will further increase the number of pins to play.

    #29 3 years ago
    Quoted from DocOck:

    Pinball Wizard, Pelham New Hampshire. Heard though may be closing at year end? Awesome place.

    Wait what?!?!?!? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

    #30 3 years ago

    Logan Hardware in Chicago was a lot of fun. But the Denver 1Ups are in a league of their own. Always a great time.
    Finally somebody started an interesting thread. Gracias.

    #31 3 years ago

    Good suggestions all! Let's keep em coming!

    Canada seems to have a few good spots too, notably Northstar Pinball in Montreal and House of Targ in Ottowa (if their instagram feed is any indication... haven;t been personally).

    #32 3 years ago

    I've seen a lot of names of places thrown out here, but no real explanation why they are any good, so I'll do this:

    Lyons Classic Pinball in Colorado is what I would consider the pinnacle format of on-location play. It's the only place I've been that feels like someone's personal collection in their own home, games that are tuned incessantly, rubbed with a diaper, and decorated around. I can come up with 6 main criteria:

    1. Game selection
    All eras of games are represented at Lyons, the latest DMD, along with SS and EM, all great players and a sprinkling of rare and unique titles with just the right amount of churn. Those that play at Lyons often (leagues, tournaments) are better all-around players than most, which has advantages in certain tourneys. It's no small collection either, listing 37 games.

    2. Can you hear the games?
    A good chunk of the pinball experience is missing if you can't hear the callouts. Acoustics are important, and Lyons has at most 10 games per room, with carpet and lots of sound dampening decorations which helps isolate noise. Game sounds are like you are playing at home.

    3. Can you see the playfield?
    It sucks when overhead lights reflect off the glass, blocking certain parts of the playfield. Lyons uses all indirect lighting.

    4. Condition, condition, condition.
    If a pinball machine isn't tuned up, it is not fun. Games at Lyons are always in top notch shape, even setup a little extra difficult, and taken care of like they are in the personal collection of a type-A personality... which they are.

    5. Ambiance
    Many on location places are a big noisy room with bright lights and kids running around with handfuls of tickets and pizza hands. Lyons pinball feels like someone's basement, decorated with personal touches everywhere, GOT poster next to GOT LE, framed classic Playboy magazine above the Playboy game, 8x10 info and history sheet for many games, KISS throw next to the KISS machine, flashing stop light, etc. Background music is all classic rock played on real vinyl with era-appropriate speakers. It is the ultimate game cave.

    6. Location / Food / Drink
    Lyons itself just has snacks but steps away is a world class restaurant and brewery. It's nestled in the mountains with clear stars at night, next to a park with weekly events. That separation of food and games improves the pinball experience quite a bit, also making it more family friendly than any Barcade. This environment does more to promote pinball to the youngest generation than any Barcade could... I've seen my share of pre-teens eliminating top 100 players on a regular basis here.

    Lyons not only meets each of the criteria, it excels at every one of them.

    #33 3 years ago

    Don't have many comparisons, but I was overly impressed with the line up at New York, New York, Las Vegas Strip.

    #34 3 years ago

    I second Las Vegas. A Pinside member has more than 10 pins at both New York, New York and also near the downtown Fremont St. Area. Add to that the Pinball Hall of Fame that has many machines from the 50's all the way to the modern machines, and that is a great city to go to to knock out a few places from "the list". So neat to play Cactus Canyon as much as you want at the HOF! (Never could afford one now). The HOF has more than 100 pins lined up and serviced by volunteers with the proceeds going to charity. That place is like coming home to me. A tour of all the best locations sounds like a great bucket list to me!

    #35 3 years ago

    I can't believe nobody has mentioned Cactus Jacks in Oklahoma City. Top notch machines mostly from the 90's and up and extremely well maintained and clean. Of the places I have been I would rank them as follows:
    1. Cactus Jacks - OKC - clean and well maintained
    2. Logan's - Chicago - clean and well maintained
    3. Headquarters Beercade - Chicago - clean and well maintained
    4. Pinballz - Austin - well maintained but some dirty but have everything
    5. Joystix - Houston - well maintained and clean - only open on Friday nights
    6. Silverball Museum - NJ - the only place I know to play BBB
    7. Nicklerama - Garland, TX - good for the latest Sterns

    I can't recommend Game Preserve in Houston. The only time I went most of the pinball machines didn't work right and needed cleaned.

    I hope to have a chance to visit Lloyds place (SS Billiards) the next time I'm in MN. I'm pretty sure these must be the best maintained games on the planet.

    #36 3 years ago

    My favorites include:

    Lyons Classic Pinball in Lyons,CO
    Logans Arcade in Logans, Chicago, IL
    Seattle Pinball Museum in Seattle, WA (i think it may have a different specific address)

    and of course
    www.madisonpinball.com 3 locations in Madison, WI
    but I like this one because I am part of the group that started it all up and we now have 26 great playing games of all eras (EMs all the way up to FullT and Hobbit and they all play great). Please stop when you drive out to Logans and are heading west/North to visit LTG and then further west to Lyons on a great pinball road trip.

    #37 3 years ago

    Flippers in Grandy N.C. All games on .50 or .25 cent play. All the newest Stern LE's, JJP, and Spooky games. Tons of "A" list titles including BBB, CC, MM, SS,AFM etc. The owner is a huge pinhead, and he owns Outer Banks Amusements, so he is always adding to the line-up, and bringing in new classics. Weekly 2 strike tournaments on Monday nights at 7pm, and IFPA sanctioned tournaments in the Spring/Fall. Also, it doesn't hurt that they are close to all the beautiful beaches on the Carolina Coast.

    #38 3 years ago

    Pinball PA in Pittsburgh is worth checking out.
    http://www.pinballpa.com/

    #39 3 years ago

    Seattle Pinball Museum
    Seattle WA

    Flip Flip, Ding Ding
    Seattle WA

    Chicago Street Pinball
    Joliet IL

    CP Pinball
    South Roxana IL

    SS Billiards
    Hopkins MN

    Coin-Op Game Room
    Sacramento CA

    Orbit Pinball Lounge
    St Louis MO

    --
    Rob Anthony
    Pinball Classics
    http://LockWhenLit.com
    Quality Board Work - In Home Service
    borygard at gmail dot com

    #40 3 years ago

    1. Modern Pinball in New York City is awesome. Get the Groupon and I think it's just $15 for 3 hours of unlimited free play.
    2. SS Billiards in Minneapolis just because it's a great old-school spot.
    3. Blainebrook Bowl just outside Minneapolis has a ton of pins.
    4. And a certain private home arcade, a long drive out of downtown Minneapolis, would make your jaw drop. But you need to know the secret knock to get in.

    #41 3 years ago

    Pinball Hall of Fame for sure. Plus it gives you another excuse to go to Las Vegas!

    #42 3 years ago

    Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Farmington, MI. No alcohol, kids allowed (it's primarily a kids arcade). Nice pins mostly well maintained. But the real attraction is all the old mechanical "games" to check out. Lot of cool stuff there. For instance, there's one "game" with a dummy in a glass box in front of a barrel full of empty wine bottles. Pop your quarter in and watch him start puking . . . freaked my daughter out. Just a crazy collection of weird old stuff you won't see anywhere else.

    #43 3 years ago

    There is a place that rivals Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum in completeness, design, and layout.
    It also puts the Pinball Hall of Fame to humility.

    Peck's Nu-Pike Arcade
    http://www.thepecks.com/
    Go visit this website, you will understand.

    Long Beach, California.

    Private invitation ONLY.
    People have no idea how incredible this museum is in dedication to the coin-operated history.
    It is completely "hidden" from the outside world.
    It may have "only" 225 games (on display and old count), but that is not the reason it is a wonder of the pinball and old school gaming.

    If you are planning to be in that area, I recommend seeing if there is a upcoming open house and contact Mr. Randy Peck.
    You might become a lucky winner, and have a memory that you will treasure the rest of your life.

    peck_nu_pike_final_tim TRANSPARENT BACKGROUND (resized).png

    Pano Upstairs small.jpg

    #44 3 years ago

    Premiere Bowling alley on 23 Mile road in New Baltimore MI.

    Dedicated area with about 40 pins on the perimeter and pool tables inside the circle. Rarely any tech issues, pins operate as expected and deserved for your money Great variety...great beer on tap. Awsome nachos, pizza and other related food. I cannot remember prices but that is a good sign...if I do not remember then likely it was normal and not shocking per game costs Did I mention that the pins are kept up great and the nachos taste awsome

    #45 3 years ago
    Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:

    Private invitation ONLY.

    Quoted from stepside:

    To simplify, let's omit conventions/expos from the conversation, as well as private clubs/collections.

    Let's keep it to locations open to the public without limited hours.

    #46 3 years ago

    Plot a Pinball-Themed Roadtrip With This Handy Map of America's Best Parlors
    This cross-country route takes in the 37 greatest pinball arcades in the U.S.

    http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/plot-a-pinball-themed-roadtrip-with-this-handy-map-of-americas-best-parlors?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=hsw

    #47 3 years ago

    Pinball Gallery in Malvern PA should be mentioned too. Check out their video tour..

    https://vimeo.com/169035334

    Their games are well maintained and the facility is clean with plenty of parking. They even have some EM's..2 pins, 2 gun games and a big ball bowler.

    #48 3 years ago

    New York New York in Las Vegas for sure.

    #49 3 years ago

    Flippers in Grandy NC. Where else can you play BBB for $.50 ? They also get every new LE Stern, JJP and they have AMH. The Maintenance is above average but not all games are perfect, but with the amount of new games they get who cares? You can play a brand new game every few months.

    #50 3 years ago
    Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:

    There is a place that rivals Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum in completeness, design, and layout.
    It also puts the Pinball Hall of Fame to humility.
    Peck's Nu-Pike Arcade
    http://www.thepecks.com/
    Go visit this website, you will understand.
    Long Beach, California.
    Private invitation ONLY.
    People have no idea how incredible this museum is in dedication to the coin-operated history.
    It is completely "hidden" from the outside world.
    It may have "only" 225 games (on display and old count), but that is not the reason it is a wonder of the pinball and old school gaming.
    If you are planning to be in that area, I recommend seeing if there is a upcoming open house and contact Mr. Randy Peck.
    You might become a lucky winner, and have a memory that you will treasure the rest of your life.

    Agree on what an incredible collection and set-up Randy has there.I Drove Sam Harvey there for an event as that's a little too far for him to drive to , especially when it's dark.

    I have my souvenir Mold-A-Rama Nu-Pike clown. I Met Aurich there for the first time.

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