Eat, drink, and play pinball. The Pinball Garage has the vibe of a sports bar— offering food and a full bar— with the addition of 30 pinball machines that are among the 50 top-rated pinball games of all time… including Medieval Madness, the #1 rated machine. A successful journey that started on the popular show Shark Tank led the owner Brad Baker to Hamilton, Ohio to open his new business.
Before his Shark Tank tale, Brad and his company VPCabs helped pioneer the technology behind digital pinball machines. Virtual Pinball allows people to play any pinball game ever made, all on one machine.. Brad applied to be on Shark Tank twice and he was accepted the second time; he appeared on Episode 28 of Season Seven. He ended up making a deal with Daymond John.
As a native of the Hamilton and Fairfield area, Brad began manufacturing his virtual pinball machines in Fairfield four years ago and then realized his growing company was in need of a larger space. When he decided to move his warehouse to Hamilton, the building he bought had a large storefront to the warehouse. Brad’s friends and the City of Hamilton urged him to consider opening a pinball arcade, bar, or restaurant in the front of the building. Brad combined all three ideas to open Pinball Garage.
The Pinball Garage features all mechanical pinball machines; some of which were newly made by VPCabs, while others date back to the 90s. Among the 30 different games offered, they are all rated in the Top 50 in the world. Each machine is different, offering popular titles from Batman, Iron Maiden, Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Simpsons, Star Wars, Stranger Things, and many more.
The Pinball Garage also features rarities like the Rick and Morty Pinball Machine, which is one of about 50 such machines in the world and only 3 are available for the public to play, as well as the Legends of Valhalla Pinball Machine, which only has six prototypes throughout the world and the other five are privately-owned.
Each machine requires anywhere from 2-4 tokens to play, so Pinball Garage offers a few different token packages for customers to purchase. They also sell a custom, retro fanny pack that comes with $60 worth of tokens for $50.
Of course, a great game of pinball wouldn’t be complete without perfectly themed drinks. Brad’s daughter-in-law, a former mixologist at The Roosevelt Room, helped to create a full menu of creative craft cocktails. Pinball Garage is also partnered up with the owners at All8Up Pizza & Hoagies to deliver food to customers while they play. Along with food and a full bar, they also offer 24 draft beers, one of which is a non-alcoholic draft root beer.
“It’s great for families and I say it’s for kids, but adults drink it like crazy,” Brad says. “It’s really similar to the old-school, handmade root beer from Jolly’s.”
There are big plans for the future as well, as Brad has Phase 2 of Pinball Garage in the works. This will include additional seating, expanding the bar, installing more big-screen TVs, and offering a larger variety of both new and old pinball machines.
“We want to attract the hardcore gamers, as well as just regular people who want to come in and have a great time,” Brad says.