Pinball passion: Sandy Springs Brewing in Minerva adds arcade with retro vibe

Ed Balint
The Repository
  • Sandy Springs Brewery Co. in downtown Minerva has added a pinball arcade next-door.
  • Pinball games, which are rotated, include "Star Wars," "Taxi" and "Led Zeppelin."
  • Connecting the brewery and eatery and arcade with a walkway would cost an estimated $100,000.
Amanda Conrad plays pinball while her husband, Andy, looks on at the arcade next to Sandy Springs Brewing Co. in Minerva. The arcade was added to the couple's brewery business late last year.

MINERVA − Knocking a hole in a wall at Sandy Springs Brewing Co . in downtown Minerva to connect it with a pinball arcade isn't as simple as it sounds.

Doing so would cost $100,000 or more, estimated Amanda and Andy Conrad, owners of Sandy Springs at 232 N. Market St.

The husband said the price tag might shock some of his customers. However, the project would entail complying with building codes, integrating the walkway seamlessly and making it aesthetically pleasing, the couple explained.

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Other costs would include paying an architect, structural engineer and contractor.

"We care so much about the space and vibe that we don't want to change it simply by knocking a hole in the wall," Andy Conrad said.

Amanda and Andy Conrad are shown in the arcade next to Sandy Springs Brewing Co. in Minerva. The arcade was added to the couple's brewery business late last year.

"We're right in the middle of sorting it out," he said of the project.

Added his wife with a smile: "We're allowing the universe to tell us what to do."

However, the wall dilemma hasn't stopped Sandy Springs from introducing a pinball arcade, which opened in November.

Sandy Springs Brewery in downtown Minerva opened an arcade next-door in November. Dartboards also might be added to the space.

"It takes you back in time, like the innocence of the old days," Amanda Conrad said. "The interaction is just so genuine; it's real, and I miss that.

"It's immersive. You're like so present in the moment."

Fine wine and bourbon were another idea for the spot, but pinball won out. Considerations included inflation and renovation costs, Andy Conrad explained.

Andy and Amanda Conrad are shown in the arcade next to Sandy Springs Brewing Co. in Minerva. The arcade was added to the couple's brewery business late last year.

Pinball games include 'Star Wars,' 'Taxi,' "Metallica' and 'Stranger Things'

Patrons must exit the brewery and walk outside to enter the arcade. But the Conrads say the few steps it takes are well worth it for those seeking old school fun to mix in with craft beer and food.

Working with a pinball machine provider in the area, the arcade rotates games.

Ones that do well stay. Others are replaced. Current pinball action includes "Star Wars," "Taxi," "Guardians of the Galaxy," "Attack from Mars," "Metallica," "Rush" and "Led Zeppelin" games.

Arcade hours are 4 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; noon to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and noon to 7:30 p.m. Sunday. The arcade is closed Monday and Tuesday.

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Pinball is a trip back in time 'to the old days.'

Neither spouse is a pinball wizard. Andy Conrad, however, appreciates the nostalgia.

"I quit in the '90s for sure," he said of video games.

"Taxi" is among the pinball machines at the new arcade at Sandy Springs Brewery Co. in downtown Minerva.

Learning about pinball has been fascinating, Andy Conrad said while seated in the arcade, surrounding by flashing lights amid a backdrop of sound effects and rock music.

"There's a story to pinball," said Conrad, 45. "There's a lot more depth to it than you realize. There's just so much more than keeping the ball alive."

'We want to be a community gathering place ... a safe place for families.'

Adding the game room also provides family activities for brewery customers, he said. The arcade can be reserved and rented for birthday parties, baby showers, wedding anniversary parties and other events.

"We want to be a community gathering place," Amanda Conrad said. "A safe place for families."

Brewery customers also can take drinks to the arcade. Sandy Springs' food can be ordered and delivered, too. Pinball costs a dollar per game.

Courtney Vuoso plays a pinball game recently at the arcade at Sandy Springs Brewery Co. in downtown Minerva.

Dart boards to be added to arcade

Comfortable couches and chairs make the space cozy. Around 10 pinball machines are available, allowing for plenty of room to move from game to game.

Dart boards are also planned for the arcade, as well as a possible league.

Sandy Springs patrons like Courtney Vuoso of Malvern have enjoyed the addition of pinball.

Joseph Vuoso, 23, of Malvern, plays pinball at the Sandy Springs Brewery arcade while Kaylee Catalano watches.

A longtime brewery customer, she loves the arcade.

"My kids are both avid gamers," she said during a recent visit. "They were super pumped. They said, 'We have an arcade in our area!'"

Vuoso said she likes pinball and older video games, not modern versions.

"I feel like they're more nostalgic," she said. "The way they light up and the music. I just find it highly entertaining."

Reach Ed at 330-580-8315 and ebalint@gannett.com

On Twitter @ebalintREP