Best Place to Play Pinball

Orbit Pinball Lounge

Pinball works best under the cover of night. Imagine playing in the clear, cold light of day — it would be counter-intuitive, right? You'd miss the subtle (and not-so-subtle) flashing lights and the tiny gleam off those round silver balls. More than anything, you need the dark to cover your frustration at lost balls and the cruel, game-ending tricks of fate. So it's fitting that newcomer Orbit Pinball Lounge, located off of Sutton Boulevard in Maplewood, is appropriately dark. Enter the main lounge and be transported to a low-lit bar with a hipster-noir twist — the bar is lit only by colored lights and repurposed pinball guts that now serve as tables. Watch your step into the game room (remember: it's dark!), and see what the fuss is about. Orbit houses about ten pinball games at a time, most of them from the mid-1990s and all of them flashing and blinking in retina-straining glory. Destroy the Death Star with Luke and Han on the Star Wars machine, try not to let the T. rex eat your ball over at Jurassic Park and avoid the Undertaker's body slams on the WWF game. If your supple wrist begins to tire, try your luck at the three Skee-ball lanes, an idea for bar entertainment that is way past due in St. Louis. With Orbit's Skee-ball leagues already in action, we may have to institute a new category for the 2013 Best of St. Louis issue: "Best Place to Play Skee-ball."

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