To prep yourself to read this post, go ahead and click on this YouTube link and get the song going before proceeding.

We’re getting some pretty cool things happening in Columbia, including a semi-secret pinball club. Patrick and I had an impromptu date night Friday that started at The Whig for some drinks and bites off of their rotating menu and ended at the pinball club, which we’d both been wanting to check out.

To know when it’s open, you first have to be a member of their Facebook group and be approved by an admin. They are open fairly regularly in the evenings it seems, but the time varies depending on who is available to be there. They recommend parking in the lot behind Nonesuch since they are usually not open at the same time as the upscale store, and there is a door leading up to a staircase that’ll be propped open. It’s kind of freaky, ascending a pretty steep staircase to what seems like nowhere, but by the top you reach the top step, the pinging and clicking sounds of pinball machines start to fill the air. But wait, it still just looks like some office space, with a long white hallway going to… where?

palmetto pinball club columbia sc

Right here, to this two room office space filled with pinball machines! This photo is of the “80s room” which includes a Ted Nugent machine. Around the corner from this room is another with the more modern games that include digital elements and more fancy bells and whistles.

Once you get to these machines, one of the folks who run the club will tell you more than you’ve ever thought possible to know about pinballing, and after giving them a $5 suggested donation, you’re free to play til your fingers cramp up! It’s a very low-key, relaxed way to spend the evening, and they encourage people to bring their own beverages to enjoy, but be careful around these machines. I would recommend stopping by Craft & Draft first to grab some cold ones out of the cooler and walking down to the pinball club.

The space itself isn’t very large, and Heath, who was there that night testing out some camera equipment to stream a tournament the next day, was telling me that it could sort of comfortably hold around 30 people maximum, and that they also rent the space out for parties. Serious pinballers, or those who care about supporting the arts/gaming in town, can get a membership.

This type of venue is exactly what I have been saying that is needed in the downtown area, because there’s little to do that isn’t eating/drinking/listening to music. This is an actual, hands-on activity that you can do as seriously or leisurely as you wish, with or without any number of friends. I wish these guys that pooled their money to make this dream come true much success, and I definitely plan to go back many more times.