Cobra Arcade Bar Opening a Pinball Lounge in Downtown Phoenix

Pinball games at Cobra Arcade Bar in downtown Phoenix.
Pinball games at Cobra Arcade Bar in downtown Phoenix. Benjamin Leatherman
Heads up, pinball fanatics of the Valley – a new spot for silver ball action will be rolling into downtown Phoenix later this year.

That’s because the folks behind Cobra Arcade Bar are planning to open a pinball-only game lounge a few months from now, and – get this – it’s going to be next door to one of downtown Phoenix’s most popular live music destinations.

The place will be called Stardust Lounge and will be located in the same building that houses high-profile music venue The Van Buren. According to Cobra Arcade Bar co-owner Ariel Bracamonte, the focus will be exclusively on pinball. It will also feature a fully stocked bar, lounge seating, and other nightlife elements like a DJ booth.

“The idea is to have a bar and lounge where people can go play pinball,” Bracamonte says. “There are already arcade bars around like Cobra that are more [about video] games and we wanted to have one that’s all pinball. It’s going to really be great.”

And it’s going to really have an ideal location. Since debuting in August 2017, The Van Buren has become one of the Valley’s premier concert spots. Stardust Lounge will be located in one of the two vacant spaces in The Van Buren’s building, which are located next to the venue’s outdoor bar and snack bar. Both have pretty much been vacant since the venue’s opening.

The other space will house a pizzeria next door to Stardust Lounge called Ziggy’s Pizza, Bracamonte says. (And, yes, both are a reference of sorts to David Bowie’s legendary character and album.)

Bracamonte and company are aiming to open Stardust Lounge sometime in the late summer or early fall.

"We've got a few more months of construction to do, but it's moving along quickly," he says.

Cobra’s owners (which include local entrepreneur Chuckie Duff and local restaurateur Tucker Woodbury) have been planning the pinball spot for more than a year, Bracamonte says. And given the pinball’s resurgence of popularity in recent years, their timing couldn’t be better.

Cobra’s downtown Phoenix and Tucson locations both feature pinball, but Bracamonte says they wanted a place to focus exclusively on the games.

“We have pinballs at Cobra, not a large amount as we've mostly had [arcade games],” he says. “It just seemed like the right thing to do to have a place where people could play just pinball.”

Stardust Lounge will feature 20 pinball machines, all of which are from Bracamonte’s personal game collection.

“I've been buying pinball games up for a while now and setting them aside for this project,” he says. “I'm pretty excited about it. I think it's going to be a really good add to downtown.”
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.