Top Secret, Super Special, Psychedelic, Pinball Palace
January 3, 2015 6:22 PM   Subscribe

Help me find Berkeley's hidden pinball house...

I've heard rumors of this awesome house in Berkeley, CA that has a basement full of vintage pinball machines. Apparently you only find it by looking for a purple light out front. A friend of mine went once, but was too drunk to remember where it was(!). I've wandered the streets at night for three years now, and never seen the purple light. Can you help me find it?

This secret pinball enclave was highlighted in this CNET article. It is not the Pinball Museum in Alameda, or the Antique Arcade in San Francisco. Also, I'm not interested in finding just any place to play pinball, I want to find this place specifically. Suggestions?
posted by Toddles to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Well, besides the purple light, the article also mentions to look for a unicorn cutout leaning against the garage. So: purple light, unicorn, a residential neighborhood of individual houses with garages. And not likely to be newer McMansions, either: an older, established neighborhood, because this guy's been collecting them for a while. Plus I know a lot of places in California don't even have basements, so find an older neighborhood that does: "low-ceilinged labyrinth" sounds like a basement, not a main floor.

And then there's that mention of the people who go there "almost every Friday night", which makes me suspect the place is only open that one night a week. The purple light might only be on when he's open for visitors, but he might leave the unicorn out daily.
posted by easily confused at 7:12 PM on January 3, 2015

I don't think Pinball Mac is still doing the Friday night free-plays at his house anymore. I remember hearing that it moved to Alameda as part of Lucky Juju (as hinted at in this East Bay Express article.) He's definitely involved with Lucky Juju and the Pacific Pinball Museum, and since those have been established I haven't heard anything about games in his basement.

As for its location, I can't remember the street it's on but it was definitely north of Ashby and I'm pretty sure east of Sacramento. I think maybe Parker or Carelton but I'm really not sure and I don't think Pinball Mac wants his address on the web.

The purple light was definitely only on when it was open for visitors, so Friday nights. Really it was a pretty nondescript house in the dark from the outside.
posted by kendrak at 7:15 PM on January 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

Perhaps ask on

Most of the higher-end pinball geeks on the planet congregate there now.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:31 PM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

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