NEW BUSINESS ALERT: A bar arcade is coming to Hamilton

A Butler County business that creates virtual pinball machines is planning to move to a high-profile downtown Hamilton storefront and create a fun place to hang out while playing the classic game.

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VPcabs Virtual Pinball, will move this summer from Fairfield to a space that is three times larger at 113 North 3rd St., and work to introduce a separate combination arcade, bar and restaurant to the mix.

“I’ve had the amazing opportunity of being on Season 7 of Shark Tank and made a deal with (businessman and investor) Daymond John,” said owner Brad Baker. “Since then we’ve grown quite a bit and need more room. I was hoping to eventually be able to get more space, but none has come available where we’re at.”

The business builds virtual, WiFi-ready pinball machines that can download thousands of games, giving home gamers the opportunity to play “just about any pinball game ever made” on one machine, he said.

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Baker, who also owns a home theater business, started VPCabs Virtual Pinball in 2013 by building the machines out of his garage, then moved to a Fairfield storefront in 2017.

The extra space in the new Hamilton location means double the amount of manufacturing space for the pinball company’s nine employees, which should help it expand its manufacturing into other video game-related areas, Baker said.

The manufacturing portion of the business is expected to move to the new location, right next door to the George McDulin Parking Garage, in July and August. The arcade/bar portion of the business, tentatively named The Pinball Garage, should open there soon thereafter, he said.

VPcabs Virtual Pinball manufactures four different machines, none of them coin-operated, with the vast majority purchased not by businesses but by individuals for home use. It typically sells between 300 to 500 machines each year, he said.

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Baker said he plans to purchase between 30 and 50 mechanical pinball machines to feature in the Pinball Garage alongside VPcabs’ own creations.

“We really want this to be an old-school, retro pinball (bar/arcade) concept where you can come in and play pinball games from the 1950s all the way up until … brand new mechanical pinball games,” he said.

The Pinball Garage name, if used, would be an homage to the storefront’s configuration, which was home to Jim’s Auto Service Store until that business moved to 1270 Clinton Ave. in Hamilton earlier this year.

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