New bowling entertainment center aims to strike up relationships with grownups
By Hope S. Philbrick
When a PR rep recently invited me to check out her client’s newest venue, her email read in part, “Stars and Strikes recently opened its fifth and largest state-of-the-art family entertainment center/bowling alley in Sandy Springs, Georgia. What’s a family entertainment center? Think chef-driven restaurant, top-notch bowling lanes, 55-game arcade, two-story laser tag arena and TV screens everywhere. That’s what consumers want these days and Stars and Strikes is delivering it!”
My reply was simple, “Please define ‘family entertainment.’ To me it means there will be thousands of kids running around screaming. Any adults-only times?” We here at Getaways for Grownups may dig the company’s tagline, “Getaway-n-Play”, but we’re on a mission to find adult fun. I didn’t want to waste my time.
She replied that the bar is limited to guests age 21 and older—21 Plus Salute!—and so I agreed to go check it out last night.
This is no mere bowling alley, and it’s much more adult-oriented than what was initially described.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by Scott Harris, director of marketing, who escorted me on a facility tour. “This week is our soft opening,” he explained, adding that a billboard outside has gone up three days early and so they might be busier this weekend than expected. “But we’re ready.”
“This is the fifth location for our company,” said Harris. “We realized that kids don’t care about the carpet on the floor, the music or other aspects of the experience—they just want to play games. So we were missing an opportunity to appeal to adults. This new location in Sandy Springs is more directly aimed at adults.”
And so, he pointed out, the furnishings are more upscale (for example, bowling lanes have sofas rather than plastic chairs). Inside the arcade you hear music rather than the constant beeping of players’ points accumulating. The restaurant serves higher-quality food. The soundtrack features a mix of current and past hits in various genres, all aimed at grownups (so no Disney tunes). There are private areas ideal for parties and corporate team-building meetings, two bars (one centrally located…so if you’re a grownup with teens you could easily keep an eye on them while hanging with adults), and—best of all—a VIP area that is exclusively 21 plus on Fridays and Saturdays after 8 p.m.
Since electronic video games are easy to play at home these days, the arcade games are more physically engaging and socially interactive. We only had time to peek into the laser tag arena—I’ll return to test it out some other time—but it looked impressive. The bowling lanes are all shiny and new with top-notch electronic scoring systems, so you can relax between frames and sip some beer (if you so choose) instead of doing math.
Bottom Line: Stars and Strikes is a very nice facility with a grownup vibe where it’s easy to have fun.
Though I wish the owners had gone even further with their commitment to adults by making the VIP area exclusively 21 plus at all times, I applaud their efforts to serve adults, and suspect that with sufficient consumer demand they’d do even more for the 21 plus crowd.
So step into some bowling shoes and strike out to Sandy Springs, grownups.
Odds of Encountering Children: High overall, but a sign is posted advising parents to supervise their children. In the VIP area on Fridays and Saturdays after 8 p.m., there’s zero chance you’ll see kids since it’s strictly 21 plus.
Stars and Strikes
8767 Roswell Rd
Sandy Springs, GA 30350
In addition to Sandy Springs, there are five other Stars and Strikes locations near Metro Atlanta, including Woodstock (opened 2014), Stone Mountain (opened 2011), Dallas (opened 2008), Lawrenceville (opened 2007) and Cumming (opened 2005).
-Facility photos courtesy Stars and Strikes; food and action photos © HSP Media LLC
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