New Pinball Center Coming to Cortland Avenue


A few neighbors have written Bernalwood about the alcoholic beverage permit notice posted in the window at 1000 Cortland Avenue (at Folsom), at the former Cutting Edge Salon space. The notice says the space is slated to become the Skillshot Pinball and Bar. Pinball has been enjoying an enthusiast renaissance in recent years, so Bernalwood reached out to the Skillshot team to learn more about their plans.

Turns out, Skillshot is the brainchild of Bernal Neighbors Christian and Elisabeth, who live on Bocana. They tell Bernalwood:

Yes, we’re opening a pinball arcade in Bernal Heights at the old Cutting Edge Salon location at 1000 Cortland at Folsom. It’ll be called Skillshot Pinball and Bar. It’s been a dream of mine and my wife’s for a few years and we’re finally making it happen in our own neighborhood!

It’ll be a family-oriented spot with no age restrictions, though we will also be selling beer and snacks (gotta make the rent somehow!) We’re just getting started with our architect now, but the plan is for pretty bold and bright colors for a playful feel to appeal to kids. At night, with some magic by way of lighting, it’ll transform into a hip little gem to bring a date or challenge friends for high scores. We’re planning on selling craft beer from neighbors Bare Bottle and Blue Oak Brewing, and will have others on hand through crafty distributors.

We have a temporary website up for the moment if you’re interested in finding out more about the project: There you can see some of our promotions and get a taste for our style (Kid’s Happy Hour!, birthday party rentals, league nights, etc…)

As we tell more friends in the neighborhood we get more encouragement. We had no idea so many people were into pinball. And kids, too. We’re even planning on stocking juice/milk boxes and baby food based on feedback.

We project that we’ll open in about 6 or 7 months.

Fingers crossed.

Over Halloween, Neighbors Christian and Elisabeth set up a pinball machine in their Bocana garage, and many people stopped by to play. Consider this a preview of coming attractions:


PHOTOS: San Francisco pinball game, photographed at the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda by Telstar Logistics. Dinosaur playing pinball on Bocana, courtesy of Neighbor Christian.

40 thoughts on “New Pinball Center Coming to Cortland Avenue

  1. Hi, just wondering what’s happening with the planned “creamery” on Cortland? Looks like things have slowed down, and I fear they’ve hit a dead end….

    • Yay!! Feel free to email me through the website if you have any particular drinks or snacks you’d like to see us stock. We’re totally open to suggestions.

    • Hi Donna, sorry, but no wine- it’s a condition of the type of permit we applied for that would allow minors without restrictions. For us, allowing minors was more important than allowing wine. We’re bummed about that, but hopefully we can come up with some kind of magically alternative to satisfy.
      Thanks for the writing though! -Christian

      • No worries, we are looking forward to a new and fun place to go with our two teenagers! Wishing you a speedy transformation of the space and we’ll see you at the end of Spring!

  2. Fantastic idea and addition! Cannot wait to introduce my boys to pinball and a great creative way to use this space!

    • Thanks Antoinette! Look forward to seeing the boys there. It was great how many kids we had visit us for Halloween that had never played pinball before. A real treat to watch their eyes bugging out (though that also could have been a symptom of candy intake).

  3. Wonderful news. It’s not easy finding an activity for the whole family that teen will enjoy.

    • Hi Maureen, That’s definitely part of the goal of the business. And also a place where parents can grab a drink and not have to worry about the kids being disruptive.

  4. “Bold and Bright colors…” in a PINBALL joint? I guess the plan is not to attract surly teens, the absolute backbone of the ’70’s pinball industry. 🙂

    I can tell you I’ll sure as heck come in and play. Especially if you have a couple old Bally tables.

    • Yeah, we’re trying hard to leave behind the old dark arcade vibe with its specters of truancy and corrupted youth (though I have no intention of blasting ‘It’s a Small World Afterall’ non-stop). We also hope the color scheme is kyrptonite to skeevy members of the community.

      Thanks for writing and the support! Most of the machines will be supplied by a third party operator, but we do plan on us owning at least one EM.

  5. Yes!!! Genius idea. Please share details on any public meetings – would love to organize in support.

    • Really?? Thanks! If you’re on Nextdoor I just posted there and putting in a supportive comment would be great. If a public meeting happens (it’s actually not definite with this type of license) I’d surely reach out to you. Thanks so much! -Christian

  6. I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS. I may not be your target demographic (well past my teenage years) but I can tell you this news made my day!

  7. I second the request for Bally tables! Pinball is a close second to cycling for best exercise in the world.

    Fantastic! I’ll be popping by…

  8. This is amazing! There is a place in the Kansas City call Tapcade and it is packed all the time. Great place for families to have fun. They do more retro games. They do a wrist band and unlimited games. It is the talk of the town. Cortland is amazing and surrounded by amazing people doing great things. Love it!!! Bernal Love always.

  9. With the elementary school down the street, you are sure to make a killing!!! And might I suggest some kind of adult-only happy hour time at some point? Maybe that way you could also have wine! CANNOT WAIT.

  10. Interesting idea. I’m a longtime patron of the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda. They’re a non-profit, having restored hundreds of machines from the 1930s to the 2000s. Though they’re not financially solvent (they have to do fundraising), they do get a LOT of kids as well as adults. The kids are well-behaved, which is a big change from when I was a kid playing pinball. So, times have changed.

  11. YES!! Can’t be soon enough. Also, are there other foosball enthusiast in the hood who would be psyched to meet around a coin-op bonzini table? Just putting it out there…

  12. Gluten free beer please. Gutenberg is very good.
    Organic Whole plain milk on tap! Or for a special house made touch , add cinnamon.

  13. Dear Neighbors, I too would be excited about such a fun establishment but have you considered the impact to tenants directly above the pinball tavern? I happen to be one of those tenants and the outside noise as people enter, exit and smoke outside will severely disrupt all of tenants lives, including noise that will continue until 12:00am or later as people hang out right below our windows to chat. The tenants of the building have filed protests with the ABC and we will do the same when they apply to change the zoning for this area. This area is not zoned for “entertainment” or “bar” and given the adverse impact, I can understand why. Yes, I would like this business in Bernal Heights, just not at 1000 Cortland. I hope you will consider our plight to enjoy our homes and get a good night sleep.

  14. Pingback: Proposed Pinball Center Mired in City Permit Purgatory | Bernalwood

  15. Pingback: Skillshot Pinball Quits 1000 Cortland, Begins Search for Other Spaces Nearby | Bernalwood

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