Billed as America’s first pinball-only bar, The Silver Ballroom in St. Louis’ Bevo Mill neighborhood is the perfect blend of pinball fanaticism and dive bar vibes (in the same vein as Lubbock’s Flippers Tavern). Gaming and drinking have a long and storied past, this latest chapter the brainchild of owner Shelly Dachroden who opened the space in 2010. The space features around 20 pinball machines ranging from vintage pieces to modern installations, leagues operating out of The Silver Ballroom on occasion. Outside, the brown building blends into the residential neighborhood that surrounds it, the space operating out of the first floor of what looks like a fairly nondescript apartment building.
The simple sign attached to the building is inscribed with the name of the bar, but the twisted neon in the window is maybe the more impressive piece, the swooping, pinball-themed logo reflected in red neon. Inside, the space is divided into a bar area and a gaming area, the room with the bar affectionately referred to as the Retox Center. The bar here is home to a selection of collected local live music flyers under an epoxy, adding to what The Silver Ballroom calls the “Pinball and Punk Rock” vibe inside.
Food options have rotated through the space, but maybe most well-known is resident Korean street food pop up, Tiny Chef, run by, you guessed it, a chef who happens to be a bit short in stature. Throughout the space, keep an eye out for retired pinball panels now used as decorations, as well as the occasional depiction of Devo along the walls.