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2019 FALL ARCADE ROAD TRIP, Stop 4: Lyman’s Tavern - Washington DC (October 2019)

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

After touring suburban Maryland, the next stop on the arcade tour brought us into Washington DC to the city’s most well-known pinball venue Lyman’s Tavern. Lyman’s was recently featured on The Today Show on NBC in a piece about the resurgence of pinball.

Lyman’s vibe is what I would call Dive Bar Chic, along the lines of NYC’s Jackbar. Long and narrow, the patio area really helps to open the bar up when the weather is nice.

Lyman’s has a full bar featuring Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap. Now normally I wouldn’t get too excited about having a PBR, but when you can drink one while playing the neat WhizBang The Pabst Can Crusher pinball machine, now that’s cool. The pinball lineup there wasn’t huge compared to many of the locations I have been, but 11 games is a very solid lineup, particularly for a city bar. The collection even included two Stern Limited Edition pins, Black Knight Sword of Rage and Star Wars. You don’t see LEs on location very often so that was a treat.

Here’s Lyman’s current pinball lineup, courtesy of Pinball Map:

Attack From Mars (Bally, 1995)

Black Knight: Sword of Rage (LE) (Stern, 2019)

Ghostbusters (LE) (Stern, 2016)

Hot Tip (Williams, 1977)

The Incredible Hulk (Gottlieb, 1977)

Lost World (Bally, 1977)

Pabst Can Crusher (Stern, 2016)

Red & Ted's Road Show (Williams, 1994)

Star Wars (LE) (Stern, 2017)

Waterworld (Gottlieb, 1995)

Whirlwind (Williams, 1990)

Interestingly, Lyman’s had a solid state version of Williams 1977 pin Hot Tip. This is interesting (probably to me only lol) because I had just played the EM version of Hot Tip at VÜK an hour or so earlier.

In addition to these pins, Lyman’s had a 4-player Atari Gauntlet on the floor, which is always a fun classic. Against one wall, there was a cool flatscreen that a camera attached to the ceiling was streaming the Black Knight playfield to. This was really impressive because the ceilings at Lyman’s were very high.

The beer there was cheap. Rob and I had several beers for less than twenty bucks. I believe that the pins were set to $0.50/play (the beers consumed are affecting my recollection but I think that is correct). The pins all played well and were in good shape. I don’t remember any major issues with any of them.

I didn’t eat anything so I can’t comment on the food. While I was lucky enough to get a good spot, I can see were parking might be an issue. Ubering there might be a good idea.

I personally liked MOMs and VÜK more than Lyman’s but that’s a tough standard to live up to. Lyman’s is absolutely worth the trip if you’re in the area. It is an iconic Washington DC pinball venue.

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