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Photograph: Filip WolakPinball NYC

New York’s best pinball players are competing for the title, here's how you can train

Jennifer P

New Yorkers aren’t afraid of a little healthy competition. From battle of the burger to naming the best bartender in NYC—claiming the title is cool as hell. Which is why were stoked about the New York State Pinball championship going down in Greenpoint this Saturday.

For most, arcade games are just a way to kill time at dive bars while downing shots and PBR. But for the players, it’s not just a contest—it’s a sport. The 16 best pinballers in the state of New York are heading to Sunshine Laundromat and Pinball on Feb 7 to declare the ultimate champion. Spectators are welcome to watch the contenders battle it out on classic machines such as Indian Jones, Monster Bash and AC/DC Back in Black for free. Bonus: You can do laundry, too. 

According to members from the International Flipper Pinball Association based in Brooklyn, this kind of kitschy Americana has been gaining momentum and popularity as of late. So, we wouldn’t blame you for wanting to become a pinball star, too. And much like the basement of your coolest friend in high school, a handful of bars in NYC offer plenty of seating, lots of booze and a medley of vintage arcade games in order for you to train and test your skills. Here are a few of our favorites below. 

Barcade: Aptly named, this Williamsburg joint boasts vintage arcade games from the late '70s and '80s (including several pinball machines) plus a rotating selection of 20-plus beers on tap. 

Ace Bar: Arcade games are the centerpiece for this East Village bar, stocked with two pinball machines, dartboards, Skee-ball lanes and one sick jukebox to boot. And the 2pm–7pm happy hour (six days a week) ain't bad either. 

Reciprocal Skateboards: Skateboards and gear are sold at this gritty shop/hangout spot, featuring nine games for both teenage and fully grown pinball jockeys. Current offerings include Twilight Zone and Creature from the Black Lagoon. 

Mission Dolores: Try your luck at the Spider-Man or Attack from Mars machines while ordering drinks from the ever-changing list of top-notch draft beers at this Park Slope bar. 

Satellite Lounge: This cozy neighborhood bar hosts indie rockers, local bands and serves cheap drinks. Plus die-hard pinballers can play at one of seven tables, including Batman and AC/DC. 

Sunshine Laundromat and Pinball, 860 Manhattan Avenue between Noble and Milton Sts, Greenpoint, Brooklyn  (718-215-9910). Sat 7 1pm. 


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