I'm a freelance writer who lives on the Bellarine Peninsula. I enjoy finding new things to see and do in the beautiful area that I live in. I'm also a booklover- see my reviews at acomfychair.com/profile/52/
Published April 1st 2018
'Australia's first Pinball Bar! Ask the bartender about the .... secret entrance!'
A very enticing sign...
Okay, if that sign outside the entrance of Melbourne bar, Island Somewhere, doesn't entice you to enter, I don't know what will.
Pinball Paradise is located inside the Island Somewhere bar in Franklin Street, Melbourne
Pinball Paradise, which is located within said bar on Franklin Street (just near the Queen Victoria Market), is a hidden treasure trove of gaming delight for pinball fans everywhere. But as the sign says, it is not as easy as just walking in and playing a game.
First, you have to find the secret entrance.
You could always follow the directions on the sign and ask the friendly bartender, but anybody who has seen an adventure film of any note will realise straight away upon entering the bar where the secret entrance will be- (spoiler alert!) behind the bookcase of course! It's really not that difficult to find- you just have to work out how to get through. Yes, taking a leaf from popular films like Indiana Jones, Batman and Harry Potter (who all have similar secret passageway themes), this bar has a secret staircase behind the bookshelf that leads to a whole room upstairs dedicated to arcade games, pinball machines and another bar. With fifteen pinball machines ranging from classics like Dirty Harry to more modern offerings like The Walking Dead, there is a game to suit everyone's tastes. If old arcade games like Streetfighter are more your style, or you would prefer to play a PlayStation console game against friends, then that is also an option.
With a mirrored wall featuring a bench and bar stools, you could also just sit back and watch people playing for high scores, while sipping a drink from the bar, and enjoying the electronic pings, whistles and clangs of the machines. Although the room is quite small, and is filled to the brim with games to play, it doesn't feel particularly crowded. With a unisex bathroom, a change machine and dedicated wooden stands to place your drinks on as you play, you could easily spend your entire visit upstairs without needing to venture back down into Island Somewhere. However, if you would prefer a relatively quieter drink, or a break in the beer garden/smoking area, then that's as easy as going back downstairs.
Island Somewhere as a bar is just as inviting for non-pinball gamers, with a calming vibe and (partially keeping with the theme) a selection of vintage board games on display. There are also a few electronic games available to play if you so wish.
The bar downstairs in Island Somewhere
This combination arcade bar is a sister venue to Bartronica (also in Melbourne's CBD- see my review) and Geelong's Ms Bartronica. It's a great concept that combines a love for pinball and arcade games, with a chilled bar that caters for cocktail and craft beer drinkers.
You can see the bookcase from the beer garden
Open from 4pm, Wednesday to Saturday, its well-worth a visit if you happen to be in the area.