21 Feb Lucky Strike Social Opens Near Chicago’s Wrigley Field
Lucky Strike Lanes opened its first location in Hollywood, California, in 2003 with the goal of building a new social experience for people of all ages around the nostalgic fun of bowling. Now it’s shifting its focus away from the lanes with a new concept, Lucky Strike Social, that opened near Chicago’s Wrigley Field on February 15.
“As the culture’s evolved it really has become obvious that people need to have those moment of joyfulness, those moments that break down the psychological barriers that exist between everybody most of the time,” said CEO Steven Foster. “Bowling was a great starter kit, but from our point of view whatever we could craft and curate in the way of interactive experience was our mission as a company.”
The Wrigleyville Lucky Strike Social has eight lanes compared to the 12-24 found at most locations. The extra space is devoted to ping pong, pool and an arcade packed with massive video game systems. Some of the games reward prize tickets that can be used to claim more than 250 rewards ranging from novelties to gaming consoles. Tickets and tokens will all be collected on a single system, so you won’t have to keep track of too much stuff and can just have fun.
“We all as grownups treasure those moments where you can feel like a kid again,” Foster said. “That’s why we decided to go this direction.”
One of the key attractions amidst the more than 100 gaming systems is the racing game Daytona Championship USA Motion SDLX, which is currently available exclusively at Lucky Strike Social. The game came as part of a collaboration with Sega, which Lucky Strike has been working with since it brought a previous large-scale racing game to its Lucky Strike location in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood in 2015.
“The experience is like being in a real drifting race scenario,” Foster said. “It’s very precise and very visceral.”
Lucky Strike Social also has locations in Honolulu and the Boston suburbs, but Foster said he sees Chicago as a prototype for the concept moving forward.
“I feel this is it. In terms of layout, in terms of the mixture of opportunities for fun, the way the kitchen is — it’s an open kitchen that’s front and center — the sports viewing. This is next level for us.”
The menu at Lucky Strike is also always evolving and the Wrigleyville location offers a simple, accessible selection of made-from-scratch dishes including nachos, burgers and sliders plus some novelties like Philly cheese steak egg rolls and cauliflower-crusted veggie pizza. A 56-foot long bar will serve beers along with a menu of signature cocktails to patrons watching sports on four 82-inch 4K TVs. Two suites are available for private parties and the location will allow full buyouts.
Foster said he expects the diversity of options to bring out an equally diverse customer base. He imagines Millennials bowling with friends on one lane while the next is occupied by a family and the next is being used for a business outing.
“The target audience is everybody,” he said. “We’re not trying to be one thing. We’re trying to be an embracing environment.”