Proposed Pinball Center Finds New Home on Misson Street in Bernal Heights


After all the fuss and cranky backlash, Neighbors Christian and Elizabeth have finally found another location for their proposed pinball spot in Bernal Heights.

As you may recall, Neighbors Christian and Elizabeth are proud denizens of Bocana, and they’d originally planned to open their pinball center at 1000 Cortland,  in the site of a former hair salon on the corner of Folsom. That plan, alas, foundered in the face of opposition from a few nearby residents, leaving the proposed pinball palace in search of a new location.

Happily, they’ve found one: Under the new name Outer Orbit, Neighbors Christian and Elizabeth now plan to set up shop on Mission Street in Bernal Heights, near the intersection of Valencia, in the storefront that’s currently home to Bel, the Belgian restaurant.

Neighbors Christian and Elizabeth tell us:

For all of you who’ve been following the trials and tribulations of us trying to get our little pinball spot off the ground, we are delighted to announce that we’ve found a location and signed a lease! We tried mightily to open a place on Cortland Ave, but we fished through all the prospects and instead found our oasis on Mission Street (where it meets Valencia), so we will still be able to serve the families of Bernal Heights.

We expect to open in early spring after doing some light renovation. Our plan is to have nine machines ranging from vintage (EM, for those in the know) all the way to brand new games, while providing a fun and inviting atmosphere to match the pins.

In the evenings when the kids have settled off to La La Land, we’ll have plenty of beers and wines to keep the evening exciting. And the big reveal: Hawaiian-inspired eats! I grew up in Hawaii and have been dreaming of bringing well-executed novel touches of Hawaiiana to accessible dining.

So thanks again for all the interest and support you kind folks on Bernal have shown us. It’s been the fire that’s kept us going.

So that means family-friendly pinball, drinks, and Hawaiian food, all just a convenient bumper-bounce away all the other fabulous restaurants and bars in the delightfully vibrant, delightfully low-key Nano-Tokyo District and La Lengua Nightlife Zone. Game on!

Of course, Bel has a lot of fans in the neighborhood too, so it’s sad to see them go.  According to MissionLocal, Richard Rosen, the chef and co-woner of Bel had a motorcycle accident recently, after which it became more difficult to operate the business.  Rosen and his partner and co-owner, Jennifer Garris, also own the excellent Pi Bar on Valencia near 25th. We wish them all the best.

PHOTO: San Francisco pinball game, photographed at the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda by Telstar Logistics.

11 thoughts on “Proposed Pinball Center Finds New Home on Misson Street in Bernal Heights

  1. As Bel already served food and has a beer/wine licence, it sounds like the permitting process is a lot easier for that location. Sounds like a good fit!

  2. Will not miss Bel at all. Maybe it was their opening blues, but it had the lowest energy of any bar/resto I’ve been to in SF. And I like quiet places, just not sad ones. They also had the misfortune of being near Old Bus, which was just the opposite from the get.
    Glad to welcome Outer Orbit into our nabe.

  3. As long as they have old pinball machines typical of the Williams in the picture, then I’m game. No pinball machines after 1973, please!

    • PERFECT! Also, don’t listen to these pre-1973 Luddites, Funhouse, Twightlight Zone, Theater of Magic, and a million other 1980s machines are the absolute best. Also, kudos to no TVs.

  4. I love Pinball. I will miss Bel, though. And I really like Christian and Elizabeth. I hope they don’t ask me to leave because I have a PB addiction. Promise not to bet on games.

  5. Love it. The vintage/EM pinballs are cool little popular-zeitgeist time capsules, and the artwork is fantastic. I do love some of the newer games though, like Terminator 2 and Addams Family. They are just so much faster and more exciting.

    Any room for vintage video games too? Centipede, Robotron, Tempest, Asteroids, Galaga etc. would be cool.

    • Hi Scott, great, we should hopefully have the right mix to make you happy.
      Unfortunately though, we’re aiming to keep it all analog with the gaming (read: no TVs, so no upright video games). I love some of those games too, but there’s a couple reasons we decided to exclude them.

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