click to enlarge Pinball machines at Berserk Bar. - ERICK DOXEY PHOTO
Erick Doxey photo
Pinball machines at Berserk Bar.

Sure play a mean pinball? Have a drawer full of quarters you're looking to spend? Then make your way down to BERSERK, where you can knock back a beer and get your flipper fingers in proper working condition.

The downtown Spokane watering hole has about six to eight pinball machines in operation at any given time, and they're regularly changing out titles for variety's sake.

Berserk co-owner James Hunt is the bar's resident pinball wizard, and when they opened last summer, he and his business partners knew that pinball would be one of the bar's major draws. After all, those machines take up a lot of space, and Berserk has plenty of space to spare.

The appeal of pinball is certainly rooted in nostalgia, Hunt says, but it's also in the physical design of the machines, and that becoming an expert requires more fine-tuned technique than your standard arcade game.

"I became a teenager when videogame arcades started popping up everywhere," Hunt says, "but before that, I was playing pinball at burger joints with my dad. ... It's the same thing as video games — you work on developing these shots and techniques — but I think you can be a little more nuanced with pinball."

But it's not enough to just have pinball machines on hand for the amusement of bar patrons: Berserk takes its love of the game further by hosting a regular pinball league, in which participants try to grind out the highest scores per season. It's $35 to join at the start of each season — that also gets you a commemorative T-shirt — and the season lasts about two months with a couple weeks of downtime until the next.

Hunt says the highest number of participants he's had sign up during a season has been 65, and the regular scores have been exponentially increasing with each new season.

"There are a lot of competitive people in the league," he says, "but they're the fun kind of competitive."

Keep an eye on Berserk's Facebook page for updates on registration and tournament dates.

Other places to play pinball:

  • Jedi Alliance, 2024 E. Boone
  • Gamers Arcade Bar, 321 W. Sprague
  • The Park Inn, 103 W. Ninth
  • The Moezy Inn, 2723 N. Monroe
  • Garageland, 230 W. Riverside
  • El Patio, 6902 W. Seltice Way, Post Falls

  • or

About The Author

Nathan Weinbender

Nathan Weinbender is the Inlander's Music & Film editor. He is also a film critic for Spokane Public Radio, where he has co-hosted the weekly film review show Movies 101 since 2011.