Strikers officially opens its doors as JC’s new major entertainment center.
Looking for some new options to shake up your Saturday date night or Friday hang with friends? Look no further than Strikers, Jefferson City’s new Dave-and-Buster’s-style entertainment center. No sitter? No problem. Adult-driven, but family-friendly, Strikers features fun for all ages, so bring the kids along for an evening of family fun.
Located on Christy Drive, Jefferson City natives will recognize Strikers as the former home of Capital Bowl. Opened in 1961 at West Gate Lanes, Capital Bowl suffered significant damage during the May 2019 and announced its plan not to reopen last fall.
When demolition of the building began in early 2021, four local business owners jumped at the opportunity to transform the property into something new. Co-owner Scot Drinkard had already been toying around with the idea of opening a bowling alley in Jefferson City when Mark Gerlach approached him about Strikers.
“I’d been looking at some land and buildings for a bowling alley on the west end of Jefferson City when Mark called and said he was interested in sitting down with me,” Scot says. “He was already in the process of trying to buy the property, and from there, it’s been very quick-moving.”
Scot and Mark, along with Brian Bloomer and Brad Harrison, took possession of the property in February 2021 and wasted no time getting to work. Drinkard noted that the seller had already begun the demolition process, and the building was within a month of being torn down. Brian and Mark, the owner of Gerlach Construction, spent most of February, March, and April finishing the demo and preparing for construction.
“There was nothing left in that building besides the walls and concrete floor, and we just started construction from there,” Scot describes the process.
The group’s original business plan was to turn the facility into a traditional bowling alley. But after meeting with Brunswick, one of the leaders in the bowling industry, their vision transformed into something more. Brunswick helped broaden their horizon, and they began moving toward a full-fledged family entertainment center rather than a traditional bowling alley. In fact, one Brunswick associate told the owners they hadn’t built a traditional bowling alley in over 22 years.
“They said it’s just kind of a thing of the past,” Scot says. “Everyone is going toward these family entertainment centers that have sports simulators, full food and beverage, and redemption center — the full package.”
Scot says Brunswick helped bring their vision to life, connecting them with leads on the redemption side and guiding them on the dos and don’ts throughout the process. They also worked with a gaming company out of New Jersey and an audio-visual company from Los Angeles. Total costs for the project were upped by roughly $2 million from start to finish, and while most would see this as a negative, Scot says the opposite.
“As we went through the process, we educated ourselves really quickly on what we could do better,” he says. “We didn’t necessarily go over budget. We just made it as good as we could and changed some things as we went to make it a better project.”
After a year of renovations, Strikers officially opened its doors in March complete with a full bar and restaurant, 12 traditional bowling lanes, four VIP lanes, two HD sports simulators, 40 arcade games, and a redemption store.
As someone who was born and raised here, I’m really excited to serve the community in a place that’s something like we’ve never had before.'”Tara Enloe
“It’s just an energetic atmosphere with the games, the lights, the TVs, and the music,” Scot says. “Just setting foot in the building kind of jumps your energy level up a little bit.”
Perfect for parties and events, the VIP room features a built-in bar, special white bowling lanes for the projection of different games, and a light-up silhouette of the Jefferson City skyline along the wall. The space can be reserved ahead of time or used on a whim when available.
Contrary to many other bowling alleys, guests can also choose from 30 different sports and 300 games in the HD simulators, play away in the arcade, or relax on the patio with a burger and a beer. Scot, who’s also a Jefferson City native, says Strikers will help fill several entertainment voids in the community, especially for families.
“People always say there’s nothing to do in town, so I think it’s going to be a great opening for us and really good for the community,” he says. “They’re going to really enjoy all the stuff there is to do in this building.”
Bar and restaurant manager Tara Enloe is also excited about what Strikers will bring.
“As someone who was born and raised here, I’m really excited to serve the community in a place that’s something like we’ve never had before,” she says.
One visit, and you’ll likely agree it’s more than your average attraction. Open just in time for spring and summer, Strikers offers an experience all are sure to enjoy. Chances are, you’ll come home with a prize, or at the very least, a smile from a time well had.