When the original Pinballz Arcade opened in Austin, Texas, in 2010, we were one of the first to tell the world about the amazing selection of pinballs and other arcade games bought and set-up in a bespoke gameroom by Darren and Mikki Spohn.
After a couple of years establishing the business and preparing for growth, they opened their second location – Pinballz Kingdom – situated around fifteen miles south of Austin.
Although there is some development work to complete at Pinballz Kingdom to finish the transformation from truck stop to pinball and arcade heaven, that hasn’t stopped the push to open a third location, and in May 2016 the Lake Creek branch became the third Pinballz operation.
Pinballz Lake Creek
While the first two Pinballz business are positioned to the north and south of Austin in rather isolated locations, this third Pinballz is a mere nine miles further north than the original location and can be found in the heart of the Lake Creek Festival shopping centre, nestled between a Burlington Coat Factory and a Hobby Lobby.
If you have been to either of the other two Pinballz businesses then the sight as you walk through the doors will be a familiar one. Rows of top pinballs stand waiting for you as you come in, with large single piece arcade games off to the side.
The view as you enter Pinballz Lake Creek
Two rows of around eighteen pinballs lead from the entry desk to the back of the building.
The left bank of pinballs
The right bank
While these games might be considered a excellent collection by themselves, there are several rows more to explore.
…and more, including the two High Speed games and both Pinball 2000s
Pinballz uses a nice dual coinage system where either quarters or tokens can be used. Prices are typically either 75c or $1 per three-ball game. Replays can be won, as can extra balls, and the settings on the games we played seemed to be moderate to easy.
Beyond these rows of pinballs lies the newest Mikki’s Tavern and Wine Bar – the Pinballz bar and diner.
Behind the pinballs is Mikki’s Tavern
Any modern bar has to offer a wide range of local and guest craft beers, and Mikki’s Tavern is no different, offering thirty draft beers alongside a comprehensive selection of bottled beers, spirits and soft drinks.
The thirty beer taps
They also serve a full menu of classic bar snacks and meals, including pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, salads, wings and BBQ dishes. You can check out the full menu here. Because our time here was fairly brief we didn’t get the opportunity to try any of the food or beverages, although the both looked highly tempting.
Move right from the Tavern and we find… yet more pinballs.
The second group of pinballs begins
Some older machines
Some more unusual titles including Lights! Camera! Action! and Time Machine
Here’s the list of the 77 pinballs we recorded on this visit:
Most of the remainder of the floor space is taken up by large arcade video games, from single-person drivers to collaborate shooters, taking in dance machines and giant LED display versions of classic titles.
Dance and driving games in the video section
Skee-balls alongside collaborative shooter games
Giant Space Invaders Frenzy
But giant games weren’t the preserve of the video and redemption realms. Pinball had a game to offer in that category too.
Hercules by Atari
Large redemption pieces
Redemption means tickets, and tickets mean prizes
More large skill-based games
We said earlier that most of the floor space is given over to pinballs and arcade games, but Pinballz Lake Creek also has a room dedicated to playing laser tag.
The Galaxy Warz laser tag room
One thing you might have noticed in our pictures is the lack of customers. Our visit was just after lunch on a Wednesday afternoon in March, which is far from prime-time and outside any school holidays. So, we don’t know how busy Pinballz gets on Friday nights or at the weekend.
Pinballz Lake Creek opens from 10am until midnight during the week, and stays open until 2am on Friday and Saturday nights.
The location is the best of the three branches as far as local shops and amenities are concerned – there are numerous shops, restaurants and even a movie theatre in the same complex – so it certainly should be an attractive destination.
Pinballz itself has good lighting, great games and looks attractive, from the clean surfaces, well-maintained pinballs and the custom carpet design.
The carpet design at Pinballz
The Pinballz operation seems to be going from strength to strength. The Austin area is very well served, so we understand thoughts of a fourth location are centred on the Dallas area, around a three-hour drive north.
With such a great mix of games, food and drinks, we look forward to visiting that branch as soon as it opens.