Best public location/arcade for Pinball? I nominate...

I’ve never been to some of the locations in the Northwest that I’ve heard of, but I have to suggest Game Galaxy Arcade near Nashville, TN as one of the best places to play location pinball. I’m clearly tooting the horn of my local arcade. In addition to a decent selection of newer Sterns, here’s some of the stuff they’ve put out on their largest location.

Star Trek/Tron/IronMan/ACDC/Metallica/Spiderman
AFM/Monster Bash/Cirqus Voltaire/Scared Stiff/TAF
Rocky/QBerts Quest/Orbitor 1 (putting the oddballs together)

Of course, they did sell Paragon to buy Pink Panther, so not everything is a home run!

This is the stuff that jumps out. There’s around 80 pins total and the owner is super responsive to fixing anything that needs adjusting. Oddly, the fighting games are probably the place’s biggest draw. Just suggesting you put this place on your list if you’re ever in the area. I’m interested to hear other locations that are worth visiting.


This could be a pretty deep discussion. Locally to me there are two great locations for different reasons:

  • Lanes and Games in Cambridge, MA has nine pins, generally the newest Sterns. Walking Dead, Metallica, AC/DC LE, and more. Very high quality of repair.
  • Pinball Wizard Arcade in Pelham, NH has around 100 pins, only a few of the newest games but a treasure trove of 70s, 80s, and 90s games. Game condition varies but is generally very good.

Those are easily the two top locations I recommend for people visiting Boston.


If you are in Colorado, you MUST stop by Lyons Classic Pinball (Lyons, CO. Just northwest of Boulder, CO). Kevin and Carole keep their games in tip-top competition condition and are two of the most friendly and awesomely righteous pinheads you will ever meet. They also host the Lyons Spring Classic (, now in it’s 11th year and it’s a stop on the 2015/2016 PAPA Tournament Circuit Event. Yes… it’s that good. Next door is Oskar Blues, so yer’ tasty beer selection is always a few steps away.

Other most righteous pin-joints to check out are:

The 1up(s) on Blake Street and Colfax in Denver, CO. Dan Gutchess is the op that you have always heard of, but wondered… do they exist? Well, the decks there are in great shape and always play as they should in the heaviest arcade traffic locations in the square state. Two of the best Bar-Cades you’ll ever encounter.

Pinball Jones in Ft. Collins. Kim and her band of merry pin-heads have taken a spot from a meager start into one of the best locations to play pinball games in CO. It tool a few years, but now… their lineup is tip-top and competition worthy all day long. They also have a side room with a Whirly-Bird in it. A must for any classic arcade enthusiast. They also serve beer.

There are a few other places to check out, but those 3 are way sweet. They also all happen to be within an hour and a half of each other. All of the places mentioned were visited when the IFPA world championships were in town in 2014.

If you are in the area, hit me up and I’ll take you on “The Tour”.


You have to get to Outer Banks of North Carolina and check out flippers here is write up in pinball news

Pinballz in Austin and Cactus Jack’s in OKC


I’m biased a little. . .Cactus Jacks OKC


While many locations are great with regards to number of machines (including what looks like an amazing photo in this thread of the place in OKC), I see that OKC place suffering the same issue as many barcades … too many games, not enough bar or lounge space.

I personally hate the arcade atmosphere where it is 100% games. I find the 50-50 mix between games and tables/chairs, all of them intermixed, is the best environment. In Seattle, we have Shorty’s, where all the tables are in front room, back room is only machines. Not my favorite place. Flip Flip Ding Ding with 25+ machines has same problem … after talking to them, they improved it a bit by mixing a couple of tables, but then they brought in more machines and upstairs is now basically all machines. 8-bit has great collection of machines, but again not enough seating place.

The most popular pinball location in Seattle is Add-a-ball … they are close to that 50-50 mix. And guess what, their machines are in worse condition than all the places listed above, yet they still have the most regular and populous clientele. The reason is that most players don’t want to be playing 100% of the time. They like to play then take a break then play then take a break. A place that is 50/50 allows you to take a break right there. And when tables are intermixed with games, they can watch others, socialize with those playing even if they don’t play, etc. When it is all machines, once person is ready for a break, they go somewhere else.

How can we start convincing more location owners that more machines does not necessarily make their place better? Create the right mix! And take a lesson from Add-a-ball … they keep things like dominos and jenga and other fun group games on each table, so that even people sitting at a table can choose to do other things. It’s not only pinball. This helps especially those people on very limited budgets who don’t feel they have to leave because they are short on money and can’t play non-stop all evening.

1 Like

Here in central Maryland, we like to talk up Crabtowne USA. It may not have the newest games or have games in the best condition, but it has a bunch of stuff and is quite popular.

1 Like

My favorites are:

+1 for C Bar in Portland

PPM in Alameda,CA

Blairalley in Eugene, OR

Another +1 to C-Bar. That’s one of the places I always make sure to hit when visiting @eric

My local dive / pinbar 403 Club in Kansas City, Kansas. Very clean / loved machines although lacking in anything 90s or earlier.

And Silverball room in St Louis for having some of the most awesome owners / ops that are on hand at nearly any time. However there is smoking in the bar which might not be to everyone’s enjoyment.

1 Like

Cactus Jacks isn’t a bar, it’s an arcade. The other half of the building is newschool vidya and redemption machines, and kids party rooms

Crabtowne would not make the top 10 in the Northwest.

+1 for C-bar in Portland. They’re also family friendly up until 10pm, which not many other pinball locations in Portland are.

No doubt, but we don’t have a lot of options around here.

Love pin wiz and lanes and games. Sarah at PinWiz and mike at lanes and games are good people too.

We are not far from Boston area at The Sanctum in Meriden, CT. 30 games and lounging area. Commercial fridge for BYOB. Not a traditional open everyday place but always open every Wednesday evening for the whole night and if anyone is ever in the area feel free to contact me and if I’m around I will gladly open up for people

Lineup right now including a few games coming in this week

Bobby Orr
Rack 'EM up
Flash Gordon
Scared stiff
Wwf Royal rumble
Escape from the lost world.
MOUSIN around
Big indian
Iron man
Space shuttle
High speed
Walking dead
Rocky and Bullwinkle
Eightball deluxe
Big game


My list is going to be a bit more international:

  1. Silver ball Planet in Amerikamome, Osaka, Japan.
    Huge. A bunch of well maintained games (like 60 last time I was there). Friendly: they provide instruction sheets (in Japanese) at the front counter for all the games in the place, and will explain games if you ask. If a game is broken, even a little bit, they’ll do their best to fix it on the spot and give you your yen back. Tournaments once a month.

  2. Games Neverland, Toyoda, Tokyo prefecture, Japan.
    Only six games, but the best location in Tokyo. They have a guy on staff whose title is ‘Pinball Instructor’, who’s also the Japanese IFPA rep. Tournaments once a month, plus a high score comp running continuously. Games rotated regularly. Otherwise a fairly typical Japanese indie arcade.

  3. Chmiel Beer Pub, Krakow, Poland.
    A time-pay pinball joint and craft beer bar. Two of my favourite things in one place. The pins are in the old cellar tunnels, and are in pretty good shape. The operator/co-owner(?) basically keeps half his collection in the place and rotates the games regularly. Super friendly. Like everywhere in Poland, their english is good. There’s a league, but I haven’t played in it.

  4. The Hi-life, Oakland, California.
    Smaller than many locations on here, this dive bar make decent pizza and has really good atmosphere along with ~10 pins. The op is a nice dude that keeps on top of the games, and rotates them occasionally. @echa, amongst others, runs comps here, including the Women’s League.

  5. Timezone Gold Coast, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.
    A HUGE family fun center, this is the best location for pinball north of Sydney and south of… Tokyo? For reasons that are unclear they refuse to operate older games, but typically have the six or so newest games on the floor, including doubles of the two most recent games and/or both the pro and LEs of the same game. Competitions once a month, plus they participate in larger Australia-wide competitions.

Honorable mention: Sports on Tap, Saskatoon – Best location I’ve played in Canada, this is a big sports bar with a row of well-kept pins next to the ping-pong, foosball, and so on. There’s a Sask. pin league, but I don’t know the details.


The Sanctum sounds awesome! Next time I’m back in Boston to visit my folks I may have to make a detour…

I’ve certainly been to better spots, but I might as well throw in a plug for the Pinball Co-op in S. Burlington, VT.

Our current games:

Alien Poker
Attack From Mars
Black Pyramid
Dr. Dude
Indy 500
Judge Dredd
Jurassic Park
Mata Hari
Metallica (Pro)
NBA Fastbreak
X-Men (Pro)

1 Like

It’s great to read about all these awesome locations the country. I’ll add my local favourites in the San Francisco Bay Area:

  • Free Gold Watch in San Francisco. My local hangout. A tshirt shop in the back, arcade with almost 40 pinball machines in the front. Collection spans from Captain Fantastic to Stern Trek.
  • Hi-life in Oakland. Pizza place with 11 well-maintained machines from the most rock-solid local operator. It would get a mention purely because one of those 11 is a great-playing Melody EM machine. There are few things better than hearing the add-a-ball knocker go off.
  • Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda. There’s no way around it. 90+ games with a focus on EM machines and the history of pinball. It’s a must-visit kind of place if you are in from out of town

Also gotta give a shout out to the Cinemark theatre in Dallas at Webb Chapel and 635. 5 of the newest Sterns, decently maintained for location pins, and 2 tokens a play, plus you can get bulk discounts on tokens too (50 tokens for $10).

Then there’s Nickelrama: While on the plus side they support the community by putting their 10 or so pins on no coin drop (still have to pay admission) for special events, on the negative side a lot of their machines are missing the tilt bobs and maintenance tends not to be up to snuff on them a lot of the time.