Pinball at Free Gold Watch
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Free Gold Watch is pinball heaven

  • 18 July 2013

Of all the anachronisms our children rightly chide us for — our rotary phones, our Trapper Keepers, our troubling Mary Lou Retton fetish — we can always take rightful, nostalgic solace in the video arcade.

Relive those quarter-poppin’ golden years at Free Gold Watch, a pinball and video arcade hidden away inside a print shop in the Upper Haight.

A labor of diehard love from the shop’s owner, FGW has 36 old-school game cabinets and — necessity of necessities – a change machine.

Repping the video games are staples Frogger and Ms. Pac-Man, while token ‘90s rigs include NFL Blitz and Street Fighter II (Chun-Li, friend: choose Chun-Li).

The pinball, meanwhile, runs from the bosomy pleasures of a circa ‘78 Bally Playboy, to a catch-phrase-y Simpsons cabinet.

Plus: everything from violent movie tie-ins (e.g., a ‘95 Dirty Harry rig), to one-off machines like Dr. Dude, which so lovingly captures the moronic ecstasy of the early ‘90s (“Get hipper … with flippers!”).

And yeah, there's a pinball league.

It has world champs. And a beer sponsor. Because you’re not a kid anymore.

The Specifics

Free Gold Watch

9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
1767 Waller St
between Schrader and Stanyan
(415) 876-4444
50¢ = 1 play

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