HAMILTON, Ohio — Pinball Garage owner Brad Baker had big plans for the grand opening of his bar and arcade at 113 N. Third St. in Hamilton.
He was set to close the section of Third Street in front of his business, bring in inflatable funhouses for children and host other outdoor games as well.
Then COVID-19 happened. Pinball Garage's opening was delayed until late April.
“When we opened we didn’t have too much fanfare," Baker said. "We actually sold tickets so we didn’t have too many people coming in at once.”
The restrictions on businesses such as his, many of which Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine lifted on Wednesday, hasn't dampened Pinball Garage's success in Hamilton though, Baker said.
“It was kind of a no-brainer to get this going, 'cause there’s going to be a lot of need for family entertainment now and in the future,” he said.
Under coronavirus restrictions, Baker limited inside capacity to 30, down from its 100-person capacity pre-COVID, and removed about half the pinball machines for social distancing measures.
That has not prevented people from coming to Pinball Garage to grab a beer from the bar or parents bringing their children to play pinball.
“We’re actually expanding into phase two, which is another half of this building here, which will add a ton more room for people to spread out, more tables, a lot more pinball machines,” Baker said.
He hopes to open up the back portion of the former Firestone Tire building he operates out of for more games and seating this winter.
Learn more about Pinball Garage's expansion on Facebook.