The moment you enter through the double doors of Pin Strikes, you know the place is one of a kind. There is laser tag, bumper cars, a bowling alley and an enormous arcade with classic games like skee-ball, claw machines and air hockey. There is also a bulk of electronic games I'd never seen - a large rainbow colored spinning wheel, an enormous rocket shaped contraption, even a giant interactive Connect Four.
Pin Strikes reminds me a bit of a casino with its flashing lights and beeping machines. It would be easy to get carried away with gaming and forget the time of day. There are no windows. No clocks. Only instead of gambling for cash money, you win tickets redeemable for plastic toys and large stuffed animals.
But Pin Strikes is not just for children. Further down its vast corridor is Splitz Bar & Grill complete with a lounge, big screens and a full bar, including the brilliant invention known as the "beer tube." The tube holds 128 ounces of your choice of beer and has its own tap so that your party can enjoy it either in the bar or at the bowling lanes.
Splitz Bar & Grill also has a new lunch menu featuring items like tuna or turkey salad with tomatoes and mixed lettuce. "The Reuben is really popular," Director of Operations Michael Dean told me. "It's hard to find an authentic Reuben around here." There are also pulled pork sandwiches, Philly cheesesteaks and more.
With Splitz's new Lunch Card, when you buy five lunches (dine-in or carry out) you get your sixth one free. Of course, Pin Strikes' food can be enjoyed by both children and adults. And so can all of the games.
"Is there an age limit on the bumper cars?" I asked Michael.
"You have to be 5 years old and meet height requirements," he told me.
"No, I mean can grownups use them?" I replied.
"Oh yes!" Michael said, which pleased me. In fact, Pin Strikes regularly hosts office and team-building parties.
The recreation center even designs custom laser tag and bowling games that help promote working together. "We do about 50 to 100 parties a year," Michael told me.
Pin Strikes' group packages can be used for as few as 12 people. This holiday season, the entertainment center is offering an Ultimate Holiday Party package for $549.99. Included are two hours of bowling plus shoe rental, a choice of buffet (appetizer, Southwestern, pasta, deli or barbecue) and unlimited soft drinks for up to 20 people. The package has a value of $700.
Pin Strikes is also offering special packages for New Year's Eve. There are three packages from which to choose. Package 1 costs $59.99 and includes bowling from 4-6 p.m. with shoe rental for up to six people, plus one large pizza, soft drinks and party favors. There will even be a mock countdown and juice toast, making it perfect (and precious)
for young children.
Package 2 costs $79.99 and includes all the same amenities, but from 7-9 p.m. For $169.99, Package 3 includes all the same amenities for up to eight people from 10:30 p.m. to midnight, plus 20 wings and a beer or Champagne toast at midnight.
All reservations must be paid for in advance.
I once spent New Year's Eve at a casino. There was so much hustle and bustle that I missed the midnight countdown completely. Still, I won't ever forget that New Year's. If you're looking for a unique and unforgettable way to ring in the new year, my bet is on Pin Strikes.
SPLITZ BAR & GRILL
LOCATION: 6241 Perimeter Drive
HOURS: Sunday- Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 10-2 a.m.