If there was an official mayor of fun in Fayetteville, longtime local resident Bo Counts would be a shoe-in for the position.
Well known for his elaborate Halloween and New Year’s Eve parties, as co-host of the Drive-In Speakerbox Podcast and associated Tavern Trivia nights at Smoke & Barrel, as local DJ Beat Bachs, a co-host of the popular Later with Jason Suel television show, a board director of non-profit arts organization Art Amiss, and for a host of other fun projects, Counts is like a Renaissance man of good times.
With all of that entertainment experience, it only makes sense that mayor Counts would eventually find himself in the bar business. This summer, he is set to open Pinpoint Fayetteville, a brand new pinball bar on Block Avenue in the basement space formerly home to the original JR’s Lightbulb Club.
As it happens, on top of his other interests, Counts is also a collector of antique and retro pinball machines (of course he is), has learned to work on them and restore them in his spare time (somehow he has spare time?).
He currently has more than a dozen of them, including but not limited to machines like a 35th Anniversary Playboy Magazine Machine, a Back To The Future machine, a Judge Dread machine, F14 Tomcat, Funhouse, Williams Slugfest, Phantom of the Opera, and others.
In all, he’ll have 14 pinball machines in operation once the new bar opens this summer.
In addition, the bar will feature cozy high-back booths, a concrete patio with outdoor seating, plenty of wall space to display local art, and a handful of other things to do like a dart board and a shufflebowler game.
Counts said he is hoping to provide a place for locals to hang out that has an “adult but not stuffy” environment.
“I want to create a place for locals,” he said. “An entertaining place for the people that live and work here, and something that adds to what’s already happening on Block Avenue.”
Counts said he plans to preserve the stage area from the old JR’s, and may throw in a few other nods to the legendary bar in his decor once he opens. Pinpoint won’t focus on live music, however.
“I’m not saying we won’t have live entertainment from time to time, but Fayetteville already has some great venues that are well outfitted for live music,” he said. “I don’t want to take away from what they’re doing, and doing well.”
On occasion, he said, he may bring over his own chilled-out DJ set that he has performed at other venues to the new space, he said, or host an occasional acoustic act, but music won’t be a focus for the bar.
Counts said he also plans to host occasional pinball tournaments, and events to help teach people the game that he says is sort of seeing a resurgence in some areas.
“There’s a lot more to the game than you think,” he said. “It can really be addictive once you know how to play it.”
The bar will take just the basement space, and a new entrance that leads straight downstairs is currently under construction. New bathrooms and a new bar are also under construction, among other extensive improvements.
Counts said he had hoped to be open in time for the Block Street Block Party next month, but extensive renovations necessary for the space will probably prevent that from happening. He will be sponsoring a stage at this year’s event, however, taking over the stage and beer garden formerly hosted annually by JRs. The Block Street Block Party lineup is expected to be released soon.
“(Fellow DJ and friend) Eric Jensen has been helping with that, and he’s done an amazing job,” Counts said. “Our stage will be eclectic with plenty of diversity, and that’s what we were going for.”
After that, Counts’ renovations will continue. If all goes well, the new place will be up and running sometime in July.