By Morgan Bryce
and Ernie Rains
Rock ‘N Roll Pinball, owned and operated by Montgomery resident Ernie Rains, will open in the current home of All Aboard next to Southern Crossing at 815 S. Railroad Ave.
With an original goal of 20 available pinball machines at opening, Rains said he has already exceeded that total with 29, a mixture of modern and vintage tables. Musical acts, movies, and television shows comprise most of the game titles, including Aerosmith, Baywatch, Elvis, Star Trek and Stranger Things.
Other entertainment will include seven wide-screen televisions and two video multi-game consoles. The arcade will also feature comfortable seating and two “kegerators” for domestic and craft beers which will be positioned behind a custom bar constructed by Opelika carpenter Chris Griffith.
An avid pinball player, Rains said he purchased his first pinball machine in 2018, a Beatles-themed machine. He and personal friend Neal Roddy quickly realized the modern pinball table or “pin” is more challenging and fun.
“Although there’s still fun in the vintage pins, the modern ones offer more depth of play,” Rains said.
After an “eye-opening” trip to North Carolina’s Asheville Pinball Museum last year, Rains networked through Pinside.com to connect with local pinball enthusiasts. Conversations soon swirled around the possibility of opening a pinball shop based on a “Rock ‘N Roll” theme.
Auburn-Opelika area residents Stephen Gentry, a pinball acquisition expert and tournaments/leagues director, and Scott Mount, a repair specialist, complete his team.
“This endeavor would fail without them,” Rains said.
“The hardest part of this effort, by far, was finding a location. Many sites and owners were looked into,” Rains added. “Every time I thought we were locked in to a good location, something would come up preventing it.”
He said that a “series of fortunate events” has them opening the arcade “near the most popular night spots in downtown Opelika.”
Recently retired from the Alabama Department of Transportation and having never previously operated his own business, Rains said he has spent the last eight months “exploring, learning and making good decisions” to prepare for his life’s next chapter.
“Success for me will be if it becomes a hangout (spot or destination),” Rains said.
Hours of operations will be noon to 11 p.m. and later on weekends. For more information call 334-324-1406, join their Facebook group “Rock ‘N Roll Pinball” or visit www.rocknrollpinball.com.