Pinball Club opens in newly renovated Powerhouse building

The team behind Quazar’s Arcade is giving pinball fanatics an opportunity to stay engaged during the pandemic with a new members-only pinball venue at a unique site in downtown Victoria.

The Powerhouse Pinball Club will open its doors at 1 p.m. today in the newly renovated Powerhouse building at 2110 Store St., which was recently leased by LeFevre & Company to Metropol Industries owner Steve Webb.

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The massive concrete and steel structure, with three floors and nearly 30,000 square feet of space, has more room than Webb needs for his commercial printing business, which is what gave him the idea for the pinball league.

“Our zoning is heavy industrial, so we can’t have events, but we can operate a private club,” Webb said. “So we’ll have it as a drop-in league, but you have to have a membership in order to play.”

Annual memberships cost $10. The Powerhouse Pinball Club will be open for drop-in sessions for players of all ages each Saturday between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m., and can accommodate up to 30 people at one time. The building — built in 1892 to generate power for the city’s streetcar system — is a massive structure, but provincial health regulations require at least six feet between machines to meet COVID-19 protocols.

Webb has outfitted the main floor with 12 vintage pinball machines from Quazar’s Arcade in Trounce Alley, the popular spot he opened with his Vancouver Island Arcade Amusements partners two years ago. With the arcade temporarily closed to the public, due to COVID-19 safety concerns, Webb said he kept hearing from his regular pinball players that they were missing the opportunity to play. When he took possession of the Powerhouse on June 1, he knew the floor plan could accommodate pinball machines.

On the floor for Saturday’s opening are several wide-body SuperPin machines, including rare ones with Star Trek: The Next Generation and Demolition Man themes, and a Metallica machine that was created by the rock band itself. Webb said he has already had a big response to the idea of the members-only club, which didn’t surprise him. Webb no longer wonders whether Victoria has an appetite for classic arcade games made famous in the 1980s.

Quazar’s Arcade did not take long to catch on, and he doesn’t expect The Powerhouse Pinball League will, either.

“We put lot of heart and soul into Quazar’s,” he said. “And I’m proud of what we were able to do in the face of everybody saying that it wouldn’t work, that you couldn’t have an arcade in 2018. But we felt there was space for a family-friendly arcade in this city.”

For more information, visit powerhousepinball.com.

mdevlin@timescolonist.com

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