Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Good Night, Sweet Pinball... Farewell to The Pinball Cafe

Nothing in this world is permanent and much of the things we love have a way of coming and going. Especially in pinball where in the late twentieth century, arcades and pinball machines were around every corner, in convenience stores, laundromats, pizza parlours and the like. Then, almost suddenly, arcade doors were closed, the windows shuttered and a permanent out-of-order sign put on the machines. Here in Toronto, I even thought the era of arcades came to a close when the Union Station arcade shut its doors with hardly a peep and pinball would go extinct.

The silver ball still rolled on, though, and in 2012, perhaps even saw a resurgence with Toronto's own twenty-first century arcade, The Pinball Cafe. Before The Cafe, pinball machines were scattered about the city and were more so decoration than entertainment. When Toronto's best, and only, pinball arcade opened up in January 2012, there was finally a storefront dedicated to the game. Instead of having to travel all over the city just to get a few rounds of pinball in on some machines of questionable quality, I finally had a place I could go with multiple clean, working machines.

Unfortunately, coming in just under a year, as of December 10, 2012, The Pinball Cafe has been forced to close its doors. It's a lot of politics, by-laws, and zoning variances which means it's a lot of stuff I don't really understand. I don't want to inundate you with a bunch of crap as to why The Cafe closed or where to point fingers, especially because it is very uncertain right now.

Jason and Rachel are two awesome people who I would call my friends. They've always made me feel welcome whenever I came by and it was always a pleasure to see the two of them. I've had lots of great times with both Rachel and Jason and I wish them all the best in their future endeavors. Hopefully we will be able to play pinball again soon!

I don't want to call this an obituary because that is hella sad. Consider this a tribute to one of my utmost favorite places in Toronto. I want to post a bunch of pictures for you that I have collected over the year during my visits to Toronto's best, and only, Pinball Cafe. Enjoy!

One of the first lineups at The Cafe

Bally's Supersonic
Bally's Supersonic
Stern's AC/DC was the first modern pinball table to show face at The Cafe.

I remember it was sitting amongst a bunch of 70's/80's era Solid State machines and AC/DC just drowned them out it was so loud.

It was THE first AC/DC in the city. Then, this table started sprouting up like weeds all over the city...

This was the first, and only, championship I ever got at The Cafe. It was impossible to even scratch some of the scores.
This was a time when The Cafe had a really nice setup (not to discount different lineups though). A couple of classics like Xenon (Bally) and a few modern tables like Ripley's Believe it or Not!, NBA and Transformers LE!

Xenon was an absolutely beautiful machine. It looked fantastic at night.

Gottlieb's Black Hole came through, too.

Now for some balancing acts!

Let's not forget about Gottlieb's Genie.

Addams Family (Bally).

A mystery stuck ball! I came to The Cafe and found this.
Diner (Williams) stopped in for a bite.

The Simpsons Pinball Party (Stern) came by for a cup of coffee, too.

The Party Zone (Bally) was a really unusual but enjoyable addition!

A little bit of ball stallin'!
Tales from The Crypt helped round out the Horror Them with Addams Family. This was the only Data East table to sit amongst the line-up!
If you look closely, you can see the ball dropping into the eject hole!
The guts of Tales From The Crypt
Stuck ball. Look at the name on the tombstone!

OK, I'm cutting this one off here since there are already so many dang pictures... GO TO Part II for more pictures YA DIG!

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