Entertainment center offers fresh take on American pastime
Mike Zabawa’s typical attempt to take his family bowling used to go something like this: Cart the kids to the local bowling establishment. Put your name on a waiting list, since only a few lanes are open to non-league bowlers. Meanwhile, attempt to keep the kids occupied in a facility that hadn’t been updated for decades.
The lackluster experience got the former Kiewit executive wondering: Could he create a better, more family-friendly option?
The V, opened last June, is Zabawa’s answer. The 46,000-square-foot building near Oak View Mall offers multiple entertainment options to keep kids and adults occupied for hours.
At the heart of the entertainment is bowling — but this isn’t your typical bowling alley. The alley’s 16 lanes are arranged in a V shape (hence the facility’s name), maximizing space for seating and socializing. The club-like atmosphere is complete with 12-foot projection televisions at the end of each lane pair, crescent-shaped couches and tables for comfortable watching and socializing, and a sleek bar in the middle of the action. The V Bar and Lounge offers a good view of the lanes plus specialty cocktails, The V signature ale and bourbon, and a well-rounded wine list.
Next to the main lanes is a private VIP area, boasting four lanes, pool and shuffleboard tables and a 30-foot projection television.
On the other end of the facility, blinking arcade lights and sounds invite kids and adults to let loose and play awhile. The game zone offers 100 arcade games, a 4,000-square-foot casino-themed laser tag arena, a rock climbing wall and mini-bowling for the little ones.
Bringing multiple entertainment options together, Zabawa believes, gives time-pressed families more bang for their buck in one location. Plus, people love to bowl.
“Bowling is uniquely American,” he said. “It’s an activity that Americans love to do. It’s social and competitive at the same time. You can be as competitive or not competitive as you want to be.”
Gamers and bowlers also have quality dining options on site. Skrach, a 20,000-square-foot restaurant, offers menu items that work at a table or at the bowling lanes. The varied menu features made-from-scratch fare such as the smoked pork belly appetizer, ½ pound “Cardiac Arrest” burger, thin-crust pizza, baked mac and cheese and even a rack of ribs. Tasty desserts are also made from scratch. For those seeking hot dog and nacho options, the Hot Spot Café is just steps away from the lanes.
The V also offers five party and meeting rooms outfitted with dry erase boards and audio/visual capabilities. Zabawa reports that thus far, local companies are embracing the meeting space with a work first, play later mentality: Groups can schedule a half-day meeting followed by a few hours of socializing in the private VIP area.
Zabawa thoroughly researched bowling-based entertainment centers across the country before embarking on his own project. True to his prediction, customers are responding positively to The V, and guests may sometimes encounter wait times during peek weekend hours.
“The cool thing is we have something for people to do while they’re waiting,” Zabawa said. “You can have dinner, play a game in the game zone — or send the kids to play games while the parents grab a drink.”
3375 Oak View Drive
Open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday;
11 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday-Saturday