Pinball wizardry abounds at new Littleton pub

Bring quarters, the kids and an appetite to venue on Santa Fe

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Attention pinball wizards: Littleton has a new place to rack up high scores.

The Colorado Pinball Pub, a family-friendly bar featuring 13 pinball machines and classic pub grub, opened its doors at 6209 South Santa Fe Drive, just south of Hudson Gardens, in early June.

Owners Holly and Don Nikolich say they want to share their passion for pinball with the city they love.

The couple are the longtime organizers of the Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown, which draws thousands every year to square off in high-stakes tournaments.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic meant the tournament couldn’t be held this year, the pub is a nice substitute.

“Opening the pub is like having a permanent festival,” Holly said, adding that there are plans in the works to host a “pop-up” version of the festival this fall.

The pub’s 13 pinball machines are drawn from the couple’s personal collection of more than 50. Dan, an engineer by trade, has a knack for fixing up old pinball machines, from the antique to the high-tech.

“It’s an analog thing in a digital world,” Dan said of pinball’s appeal. “It’s tactile. It’s a throwback. There’s a nostalgia element, and we love when parents show their kids their pinball skills.”

The tables include classics from pinball’s 1990s resurgence, like the Indiana Jones or Elvira tables, and some of the latest and greatest, featuring high-definition flat screens.

Holly said she’s grown to love the art of pinball machines, and how they reflect the pop culture of their eras.

Beyond a large beer selection, the pub also offers an impressive array of high-end whiskeys — which Dan is happy to talk about (really, try him).

Good food abounds: Holly’s specialty is fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, dusted with powdered sugar. Other eats include calzones, fried pickles, fried mac and cheese bites and pretzel bites.

The pub features patio dining out front, and the plan is to build a bigger patio out back, facing the South Platte River.

“It’s just a comfortable Colorado place to have a drink and play some great games,” Holly said. “Bring the kids!”

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