Pot & Pinball: A Match Made in Arcade Heaven

Published on July 20, 2018 · Last updated July 28, 2020

Whether for work or leisure, the solo traveler often seeks entertainment that offers safety, affordability, and (most importantly) a good time. If fending off unwanted chatter at a busy bar isn’t your taste, consider a pinball bar for your next infused destination.

Pinball is an individual sport where $20 can buy you a hell of a time. Want to be out in public but not interact with anyone? Pop on your headphones and pump in some quarters. Feeling a little more social? Invite someone to a doubles game while lighting up a buzzy strain.Headed to a Game Bar? Las Vegas and San Francisco have museums dedicated to decades of gaming where you can play your way through various machine eras. And since we’d never spark an interest just to leave you hanging, here’s a lively travel list of tested pinball destinations in major canna-markets.

Los Angeles

Pinball Strain Pairing:Green Crack


EightyTwo offers a rotation of 50 classic games, a stellar cocktail list, and serves as an ever-changing food truck stop. 21+ and tournament friendly.

Button Mash

Rocking an Asian-inspired menu and extensive beer and wine lists, Button Mash is 21+ after 9p.m. and takes “house tokens” in lieu of quarters.

The Blipsy Bar

A classic LA dive, this cash-only establishment offers heavy pours, colorful local flavor, and a variety of machines.

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San Francisco

Pinball Strain Pairing:Jack Herer


This 21+ hotspot offers a free play day on the last Sunday of the month. Coin-Op specializes in local beers & small plates with a bangin’ full-bar happy hour.


Craft beers and brats are on the menu at this low-key, local heavy, cash only, 21+ Mission district favorite.

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Pinball Strain Pairing:Phantom Cookies

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The 1up

So popular you’ll find locations in both LoDo and Colfax, 1up offers classic American fare and a happy hour with nearly every damn drink under $5.

Punch Bowl Social

PBS is a hipster chain—think Dave and Busters with jars but they serve brunch, which is a rare pinball find. Oh, and let’s not forget $2 happy hour tacos. They also have bowling and a full-service arcade.

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Pinball Strain Pairing: Cinex

Ground Kontrol

All Ages till 4p.m., Ground Kontrol’s new expansion allows for a full-service bar in select areas (starting at noon). It offers multiple floors of entertainment and often hosts lively tournaments.

The Paymaster Lounge

Not the largest selection of machines in Portland, but well curated. Games combined with a relaxed ambiance, a “very unique” vending machine, slushy drink specials, and a generous back patio for people-watching makes this establishment a hotspot.


C-Bar (the “C” is for “Community”) may boast the best food options around and hosts 15 games ranging from classic EM’s [electro-mechanical] to modern Sterns.

*Note: Portland has more pinball machines per capita than most cities have general entertainment. You could plan a vacation and do nothing but smoke and flip for an entire weekend! These three options are just the tip of the iceberg.

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Pinball Strain Pairing: Purple Diesel

Flip Flip Ding Ding

Always 21+, FFDD has an inexpensive beer and wine menu with most games topping out at 50¢

a play. Located in Georgetown, an off-the-grid must-visit Seattle neighborhood.


This Seattle newbie gives northside players stellar gaming options with a wing-centric happy hour menu, wide selection of local beers, walls of machines and … the Great Cornholio (cornmeal cake topped with grilled hotdogs, cheddar, mozzarella, pickled jalapeno, and spicy mayo) for $5 during happy hour.


A first of its kind, this punk-rock Belltown staple has provided hotdogs and stiff drinks going on 20 years. Nearly lethal slushies and frequent tournament play keep this place afloat as its surrounding neighborhood becomes posher by the minute.


Open from 2p.m. to 2a.m. daily, this 21+ gaming room in Fremont has a small shelved bar with beers aplenty, and Seattle’s (maybe the world’s?) greatest Patrick Swayze mural in a multi-room space featuring both classic and modern games.

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Ma'Chell Duma
Ma'Chell Duma
Ma'Chell Duma is an Author, Public Speaker, and Culture Connoisseur. You can follow her cocktails, tacos, travels & travails on Instagram.
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