Laundry. It’s one of life’s menial and unavoidable tasks.I never get mad at ketchup until it ends up on my ivory white button down. However, Sunshine Laundromat in Brooklyn, NY has found a way to wash away your stains and your sorrows with games and secret bar!
Years ago, co-owner Peter Rose, 42, replaced several of the washing machines with vintage pinball machines. As an avid collector, this made the space more enjoyable for him and subsequently for many of it’s customers. Then in late 2015, signage asking to pardon construction began to appear and whispers swirled around the neighborhood of an epic expansion. It was shortly there after in the beginning of 2016, that a mysterious door contrived of 2 vertically stacked dryers appeared in the rear of the laundromat. Indeed “dryer” 7 and 8 are actually the hidden entrance to a 1,000 square foot arcade with over 20 pinball machines and a wine and beer bar.
For months now I have been lugging Ikea bags overflowing with laundry like Mariusz Pudzianowski doing the farmer’s walk. My calloused palms yearning for the temporary relief a cold draft pilsner could provide. Having Sunshine a 6-minute walk away from my apartment definitely has it’s perks. One of which is it’s ability to grip your attention at every corner with novelties and witty quotes : A vending machine with pregnancy tests, an “ASSMAN” license plate behind the bar, bacon stickers plastered to various items.
I stopped in on a recent Friday evening to get an idea of the weekend vibe. The sloshing of washers agitating soiled garments and the low hum of working dryers masked the dings of pinball machines. The increase in traffic and expansion has not impeded the abuelas from congregating and gossiping by the folding table. I dropped my Ikea bags by an unoccupied washer and beelined for the speakeasy door. While it is inconspicuous, it isn’t difficult to find. I swung it open with light force to a healthy crowd of 20 and 30-somethings mingling and drinking.
The ambient light and exposed brick is a real estate agent’s dream – a warm but stark contrast from the fluorescent bulbs illuminating the laundry area. The bar itself is not particularly large, but it is stocked with 7 beers and ciders on draft, a handful of different cans and bottles, and 2 wines. They’ve also sourced a really good local pizza from Roberta’s in Brooklyn.
With my pilsner in tow, I headed back to throw my mound of procrastination in the wash. From a practical standpoint, the washing machines and dryers are powerful and thorough although a bit pricier than it’s nearby competition. Wash in a small machine sets you back $2.75, $5.00 in Large , and .25 cents for every 5 minutes in the dryer. Do you know what is more emancipating than passive aggressively throwing your laundry in a machine with one hand and a beer in the other? NOTHING. With a 20-minute cycle to kill, I head back into the bar for a few games of pinball. Most of them cost .75 cents per game and my absolute favorite is Cactus Canyon for it’s wild west sound effects and a bonus feature that has multiple pinballs at play at once.