A Look Inside Pinball Jones – Fort Collins Arcade & Bar

It’s hard not to get excited by the sounds of furious pinball players, the taste of ice-cold beer and a night of fun for $5. No one understands this quite like Pinball Jones.

Pinball Jones is a pinball/arcade business, proudly entertaining Fort Collins customers since 2011.

Located underneath the walkways of Old Town, Pinball Jones offers over 38 different pinball machines, as well as 18 arcade games and air hockey.

Along with the massive selection of activities, a fully loaded dive bar can be located in the back,

offering 12 local beers, shots, and a special $3 tall boys on Monday.

Monday is also a huge business day thanks to $5 free play. Customers pay only five dollars for full access to all pinball machines, as well as a few arcade games, for as long as the arcade is open.

Speaking to Pinball Tones, the master bartender, on a hot Monday afternoon, she explained that nearly every arcade from the 80s had closed, and the only business that hung on a bit longer was Odyssey.

A Lord of The Rings Pinball Game at Pinball Jones. Photo by Will Brown.

Opening a fine business is no easy task, however, and Pinball Jones was no exception. Tones said that for the first few years they had to work with no liquor license, and a small staff.

Tones helped move things, work the bar once available, as well as other tasks needed. It was a

difficult start, but one that proved more than bountiful.

“On the process of deciding what machines to acquire or not, Tones said, “We decide on two merits. What’s an earner and what appeals to the pinball community.”

The exterior of the Pinball Jones bar & arcade. Photo by Will Brown.

Collaboration between customer and management is an essential block of Jones. Customers will deliberately give feedback on what they enjoy and what does not work. 2021, for example, saw a TMNT(Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) pinball machine exit the store, due to a lack of demand from the pinball community.

In terms of appeal, Pinball Jones is old school in a genuine fashion, making them a counterpoint to a modern store like Dave-and-Busters.

Rather than switch to having customers buy credit in store to use on games, Pinball Jones has refused to leave the original method of coin payment.

Word of mouth is another form of appeal Pinball Jones has mastered. There’s minimal social media presence, no billboards, no TV ads and no online ads. Tones made it clear that customers have an organic attraction to the store: “People feel like they’ve found something special.”

Tones explained how it brings her joy to see the younger generation adapt to the old machines, and do so excitedly. “I truly believe arcades are for everyone,” she said.

In addition to $5 dollar Mondays, at the end of Fridays and Saturdays the arcade turns to 21 and

over mode, with 18- to 20-year-olds, permitted with a parent. Pinball Jones really is the perfect destination for any age.

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