EUGENE, OR -- The Blairally Vintage Arcade is proving that pinball and adult beverages are a popular combination in the working class neighborhood of Whiteaker. From youthful working stiffs to middle-aged professors who teach at the nearby University of Oregon, dozens of happy competitors flock to the location's occasional Saturday night pinball tournaments, according to the Register-Guard, a hometown newspaper.
Aurcade.com, a players' site, describes the venue as a "warehouse with retro arcade cabinets and old retro pinball machines," and notes that the location features a projector and screen for playing vintage console games. The website listed 18 pins for the location during a recent visit; the oldest is Space Mission (Williams, 1975).
Entrants pay a $10 fee for a particular division, such as 1970s-era pins, and can win up to $450 if the pot grows that big. While flipper games are the big attraction, it's beer sales that generate the most revenue and pay the bills, said the Register-Guard.
Owner Chad Boutin told the paper that he opened what he calls his "bar-arcade-bowling alley" two years ago. Inside there are 60 machines, ranging from vintage pinballs to classic videogames. Boutin said he has more old games stored in a nearby warehouse.
Most games in the arcade are set on 25¢ play and a few on 50¢ play, according to online player reviews.
Boutin said he was previously a commercial photographer. He found that do-it-yourselfers armed with digital cameras were causing his photo business to dry up. After a friend installed some pinball machines in the lobby of his photo studio, Boutin's transformation from photographer to pinbar owner-operator began.
Vending Times has previously noted the "pinbar" trend powering similar successes in Washington state and Colorado. All the popular pinbar locations to date appear to be located in close proximity to colleges. | SEE STORY