Whether you’re a pinball enthusiast or a fan of their nostalgia, you’re sure to be impressed with the rare and world-ranked pinball machines Pinball Garage has in its new bar and arcade in Hamilton. The spot, which opened last month, has 24 beers on draft, around 50 craft beers in total, and a host of top-shelf liquors.
The bar’s owner, Brad Baker, says, “out of the top 50 pinball machines currently ranked in the world, all 30 of our machines fall within that range.” They also have a “super rare” Big Lebowski machine that Baker says people have driven hours to come to play. “We’ve got really high-end, expensive machines here,” Baker says.
Baker was featured in a 2016 episode of Shark Tank, where he struck a deal with Daymond John for his company VPCabs, which specializes in virtual pinball. Pinball Garage operates in the front half of the factory used to build the digital pinball machines featured on the episode. With no original plan to utilize the front area of the factory, Baker credits the city of Hamilton for the push to open Pinball Garage.
The machines featured on Shark Tank are for household use only and are not in Pinball Garage, though Baker says they may eventually demo some of the machines there. They also have one machine upfront that VPCabs helped make called Legends of Valhalla (one of only six in the world.)
Along with the impressive range of Pinball Machines and a solid drink menu, they have a full food menu courtesy of ALL8UP pizzeria next door. On occasion, Baker says, they also have food trucks pay a visit.
Want to bring along the little ones? Pinball Garage is family-friendly during all hours of operation and has soft drinks on tap for the kiddos to enjoy.
With safety being a big concern for many right now, Pinball Garage has regulations in place to keep your well-being a top priority. In addition to requiring masks and mandating a 50-person occupancy limit, Baker says they removed some machines to practice six-feet social distancing guidelines. The games get wiped down a few times a night, and Pinball Garage has four hand sanitizing stations throughout the building.
Though masks are required, Baker says people may take them off at machines while they consume their drink. He recommends, if people are nervous about crowds or are more at risk, visiting during a weeknight when they aren’t as busy.
Baker says even though he “probably picked the worst time to open a bar and an arcade,” he loves that Pinball Garage allows him to see new and young people getting into pinball and see families having a blast together.
Pinball Garage, 113 N. Third St., Hamilton, (513) 805-7367