Quoted from jahbarron:
Let's keep it to locations open to the public without limited hours.
Quoted from MrBally:
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. Agree on what an incredible collection and set-up Randy has. I Met Aurich there for the first time.
That is the reason I mentioned it.
People do not know it exists.
Always a pleasure to talk to Sam, a man truly passionate for the silver ball.
Houston: The Game Preserve. Awesome place and growing selection of pins and vids. It's a membership or a day pass so one fee and play all you want. It's also BYOB. They now have probably over 30 pins and 80 plus vids. They are open 5-6 days a week so great hours for anyone passing through to check it out. There is usually at least 1 pin tournament a month.
Joystix.....it has a bar. Pacman Fever Friday's are first and last Friday of every month so it is limited but it's $15 and free play from 9pm to 2am. We have been fortunate for Joystix to host our pinball league as well. Joystix buys/sells pins/vids etc. It can also be rented for private functions. Well over 50 pins and 100 vids.
Another place that is awesome is the Lonestar Pimball Museum. It is not open daily but there is a website and can be opened for visitors if you contact in advance. Well over 100 EM pins plus a few SS pins. Tons of cool stuff besides pins. You would just have to see it to appreciate it.
Other than some private collections these are the best places in the Houston area. There are a couple other places with a few pins but that is about it.
Free Gold Watch, off of Haight Street in San Francisco. I owe them a good word on here. I was in town for work a few weeks ago and it is by far one of my favorite places I've ever been. I got to talk to one of the owners, Matt (pinside name FreeGoldWatch),he was great to talk to, and was very welcoming.
They had at least 40 games and not a one of them was a dud, busted, or junk. I stayed as long as I could and will definetly go back.
Quoted from Minneapolispin:
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.
Groupon usually takes a huge chunk of the purchase price from the business, often 50%. If you're going anyway, either just pay the regular admission, or ask them if they will honor the Groupon price. That way, the business is at least getting the entire $15, instead of only $7.50.
These are the highlights of the cities I visit for work:
Pacific Pinball Museum, Alameda CA - Huge pinball collection of all eras. Everything is freeplay with paid entry.
Pinballz, Austin TX - Huge collection (93) DMD pins. Pins are 0.75cents or $1. BYOB
VUK, Bethesda MD - All 10 pins 0.50cents, Great Pizza, craft beer.
Pinball Jones, Fort Collins CO - 21 DMD pins, great craft beer selection.
Each time I visit a location, I update the 'where to play' map with a review good or bad and update the pin list. Adding a simple rating scale there would be nice.
The main things I like to note when rating good or bad are:
-Are all or most pins working well and not neglected?
-Good Food/Beer available?
Forgot to list this one:
The Pinball Lounge, Orlando FL
Here are my nominees (no particular order):
Logans Hardware-Chicago IL
Headquarters, River North-Chicago, IL
The Pinball Lounge-Orlando, FL
The Game Preserve-Houston, TX
Game Galaxy, Hickory Hollow-Nashville, TN
1UP-Kansas City, MO
Thanks everyone and especially folks like Baiter! Thoughtful posts like these really enrich the discourse.
Quoted from Baiter:
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.
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.
I visited the Asheville Pinball Museum last week, Awesome place with several examples of "ancient" pinballs, and some older ones you can play, as well as newer games. Perfect mix. Game playability was much better than at many of the other arcades I've visited.
Pocketeer billiards near buffalo New York is an awesome growing location. 45 pins and counting. Plan on taking a video of the location soon.
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
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.
Wow that place looks awesome. Not sure how often he might have an open house, but I would love to go there some day. I can be there in a flash from where I am.
Replay Museum, Tarpon Springs, Florida!
They have at least thirty some cabinets lining the walls, it's one time pay, play all day. 11$ for the wrist band to play all day. Or Forty dollars for a 6 month pass i believe. & they have the rarest, and some of the most popular machines in existence. The kid who owns the place keeps them in perfect condition. The bumpers, flippers, etc are all extremely responsive and everyone is so nice. Tournaments once a month with prizes.
Not only do they have tons of beautiful pinball cabs, they have tons of rare arcade machines. All the ones you want to find in an arcade, they have in the middle of the floor. Especially multiplayer coop games. So if you live in FL, make the trip. Tarpon is gorgeous btw. All on the water.
I may be biased as well ...
But add Cafe One to the list. We just opened up within the last two weeks. Currently we house 6 pinball machines that are all either new, have had their playfield restored or replaced, or are in generally fantastic condition. The current lineup being Taxi , Whirlwind, Fish Tales, Funhouse, Wizard of Oz, and the Hobbit.
We are open 6 days a week from 7AM - 3PM (closed Wednesdays) and offer breakfast and lunch with 50 as our seating capacity. Soon in the pipeline we are going to start league on Friday nights after close (kitchen will stay open), and monthly IFPA tournaments (we already had one), plus we are working on a beer and wine license.
Just back from NC and stopped into Flippers in Grandy, NC. I have to say this is one of the nicest arcades I have ever visited and what a beautiful collection of pins. All games are 50 cents (some older games are 25 cents). 60 pinballs with several LE games and a rare Big Bang Bar to play. We spent 4 hours there and it still wasn't enough time to play every game we wanted to play. Staff was courteous and the place was very clean. I will definately go back and I encourage you to stop in if you are near the area. Its only 25 minutes from the outer banks if you are vacationing. Great place!
Quoted from jamieflowers:
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.
Quoted from freakandgeek:
Pinball Palace has to be in the conversation...
Yup, I spend many of my Saturdays there. Time well spent!
I would have skipped the road trip and just went to Replay FX. Or maybe don't so you don't ruin location pinball for yourself. Otherwise you might start to notice that many locations don't have 300 perfectly working games.
Quoted from LTG:
You need a newer picture. Not many pins there anymore.
LTG : )
Awww that's a shame I would have thought they would be packed with new Stern's and JJP's
I wish I could find an older b&w pic of Em's all lined up in that circle! I have the greatest admiration for establishments that are decades old!
Were going to need some more decades for love, right now I just kinda like you a lot! lol
It's weird to see this forum, and that no one has said The Silver Ballroom in St. Louis, Mo! I may be a bit biased as well, but there is no denying that besides being America's first pinball only themed bar, it's also the best and friendliest bar in the world. Punk rock music and cheap beer and 21 pins. Also Australian Meat Pies! Definitely worth a stop on anyone's pinball tour of the USA
I second The Pinball Palace in Brunswick, GA. I visit them at least monthly. They have over 75 pins (100+ pins and video games) They continue to add the latest machines when announced. The pins are in great shape. The place is well lit so no issues seeing the play fields.
The Line up constantly grows so check out the list here: https://thepinballpalace.com/pinball-list
They are open 7 days a week. They have 1 hour, 2 hour, daily, and monthly passes. They don’t have food but do have water, soda, beer, and wine. You can get a day pass and can leave and return under the same pass To get food.
Kid friendly with an indoor bounce house for those just getting their flipper skills.
Check out their website for current information: https://thepinballpalace.com/
Quoted from gmkalos:
#1 has to be Castles N' Coasters!
If that’s the Castles n coasters in Phoenix it’s totally redone and sucks. Most machines are gone. There are still about 15 machines left, but on any given day, 5 are turned off and the other 10 are in such bad shape that’s it’s not even fun playing them. My collection at home is better !
Quoted from hooch333:
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.
The thing I like about Flippers is that when you go in there it's not overrun with people. I've been to a lot of these hipster barcades and museums and it's always a hassle to get on a machine. Every time I go to Flippers it feels like I have the place to myself.
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