There’s no missing the pinball theme at the Craftcade Pinball Bar, which is in a former bookstore on the Near Southside. The doors are framed by a painting featuring flippers launching a pinball into action. As you walk in, you’ll see — and likely hear — 18 pinball machines.
But there’s more to this place than buzzers and bells — you’ll just have to walk past the pinball machines to get to the bar part of the bar, featuring a bar top with pinballs embedded in it.
But the bar is where, well, the bar part comes in. Although you can order a PBR or a Lone Star if you want, the bar features a cocktail menu that’s relatively large for a place this size, with nearly half a dozen whiskey drinks (including a chocolate mint julep); a similar number of gin drinks (under the heading “Gin-ny, I Got Your Number!”); a few tequila libations and rum drinks; vodka drinks (under “Vodka, the Other White Liquor”); and a few outliers such as the Craftcade Jell-o Shots that rotate (“ask your bartender for tonight’s creation”).
“With everything that’s been going on in the service industry, and the bar scene has been growing here … I just kinda wanted to do something super-fun,” says John Cocke, the genearl manager and “head cocktail whisperer,” whose background includes Fireside Pies Fort Worth. When Calvin Shelby, the bar’s owner, mentioned the pinball idea to Cocke, the bartender found what he was looking for.
Shelby is a third-generation pinball/arcade man: His…