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So here's the deal. If you don't know much about Boston, it's a pretty small city. By population and land area. And that scarcity of land means that the business model for location pinball is hard. Rents are typically so high in Boston city proper (and most of the surrounding suburbs) that a pinball arcade just doesn't usually work unless you're a big chain like Dave & Busters or Kings Dining, and those places don't typically feature a lot of pinball machines! Plus, since all our buildings are old, any place where pinball machines could be located, like a bar or restaurant, are typically too small to house much of a collection.
But, while Boston might not have the same on-location reputation as, say, a Portland Oregon or San Francisco when it comes to pinball, that doesn't mean there aren't some great places to play in and around Beantown. The Boston area is home to some top notch pinball operators who make up for their lack of collection breadth with some of the highest quality machines you'll find in the area.
However, in order to make a proper guide to playing pinball in the Boston area, we have to extend a bit outside of Boston city proper to include locations that you won't want to miss, but that may be a bit of a drive from city center. (We tried to keep it to under an hour or so - sorry Western Mass Pinball Club).
Not only is Boston a small city, but Massachusetts is a small state. So if you happen to have a set of wheels to get you around the region, other notable omissions include Pizza-J in Providence, Rhode Island, and Tokens Taproom in Dover, NH, among others further out in the region.
So without further ado, here are our picks for the best places to play pinball in and around Boston, Massachusetts:
Double Bull Taphouse (Peabody, MA)
Why You Should Play at Double Bull Taphouse
The Double Bull Taphouse in Peabody (about an hour north of Boston) is the perfect place to drink, eat, and play. The large, upscale bar and restaurant offers an elevated bar food program, a wide selection of craft beers, and a collection of well-maintained pinball machines on the second floor (with its own bar, too!). The Double Bull is the perfect place for a night out with friends or a date night with a special someone. The food is noteworthy and delicious (try the burger), the beer selection is impressive and mostly locally sourced, and the pinball machines are top-notch for Massachusetts. Usually features a lineup of the latest pinball machines from Stern Pinball with a rotating mix of classics and other manufacturers. They also have bubble hockey and a small selection of arcade games, alongside other pub favorites like darts.
Double Bull Taphouse Address
210 Andover St
Peabody, MA 01960
Flippers Pinball Parlor @ Maxamillians Billiards (Tyngsborough, MA)
Why You Should Play at Flippers Pinball Parlor
Flippers Pinball Parlor is a small pinball room located in Tyngsborough MA inside Maxamillians Billiards. This is a great spot for pinball enthusiasts of all skill levels, with 9 high quality machines on site. You'll find mostly newer Stern and Jersey Jack games here, so it's a great place to get your fill of the modern games. And if you get hungry, they have a full food menu featuring brick oven pizza. Maxamillians is mostly known as a great local pool hall and darts establishment, so you can rent a pool table before or after you play pins. Plus there's a full bar for your drinking needs. Keep in mind this is a 21+ establishment, so leave the kiddos at home. They host regular pinball leagues and tournaments, and the machines are regularly serviced and well taken care of. So come on down and enjoy some pinball action!
Flippers Pinball Parlor Address
315 Middlesex Road
Tyngsborough, MA 01879
Roxy's ARCADE (Cambridge, MA)
Why You Should Play at Roxy's ARCADE (formerly Roxy's A4Cade)
Roxy's ARCADE (formally known as Roxy's A4Cade) is a super unique, speakeasy style arcade located in the back of an unassuming grilled cheese restaurant (Roxy's Grilled Cheese) in Cambridge, MA. It's somewhat small, but makes up for its size with its trendy atmosphere and excellent collection of pinball machines, arcade games, skee-ball, and other coin-op activities. The games are maintained by the same people who maintain the games at Double Bull Taphouse, so machine quality is top notch. The pinball machines are mostly newer Stern games, though you are likely to see a few other modern manufacturers and classics thrown in. Delicious cocktails and a full food menu are available. This is not a great establishment for kids, as its more of a younger bar crowd. There are 9 pinball machines on site.
Roxy's ARCADE (formerly Roxy's A4Cade) Address
292 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139
BearMoose Brewing Company (Everett, MA)
Why You Should Play at BearMoose Brewing Company
BearMoose Brewing Company is a small craft brewery located in an old industrial building in Everett, MA. The taproom is spacious and dog friendly, and has a diverse lineup of new and old pinball machines. One of the more unique public pinball collections in the area, BearMoose is just as likely to have the latest offering from Chicago Gaming Company as a vintage single player EM machine. No food is served on site, but you can bring your own or have something delivered. BearMoose only offers beers and non-alcoholic options, so no liquor or wine is available. If you're looking for a fun place to hang out and play some pinball, BearMoose Brewing Company is definitely worth check out!
BearMoose Brewing Company Address
1934 Revere Beach Parkway
Everett, MA 02149
Silhouette Lounge (Boston, MA)
Why You Should Play at Silhouette Lounge
Silhouette Lounge is a great dive bar located in the Boston neighborhood of Allston. They have 3 pinball machines on site, so not the largest collection, but the operator is the same as BearMoose so quality is high. They run the occasional tournament and also have darts, a pool table and free popcorn for your snacking needs. It's a great place to stop in for a beer before seeing a concert at one of Allston's many nearby music venues. In Silhouette Lounge you'll find a fun, relaxed atmosphere with plenty of games to keep you entertained. So if you're ever in the area, be sure to check it out!
Silhouette Lounge Address
200 Brighton Ave
Boston, MA 02134
Bone Up Brewing Company (Everett, MA)
Why You Should Play at Bone Up Brewing Company
Bone Up Brewing Company is a small craft brewery located in Everett, MA. They only have two pinball machines on location, but they are operated by one of the premier collectors in the area, so they are always kept in high quality condition. Bone Up has a diverse selection of craft beers on tap, plus board games and some light snacks (like Costco hot dogs). The patio is expansive when open, and is also dog friendly. Bone Up does a lot to support the local pinball community when they can, particularly the local chapter of Belles & Chimes.
Bone Up Brewing Company Address
38 Norman St
Everett, MA 02149
Boston pinball players - did we miss anything? Drop us a line and let us know!