Game on! Family entertainment headed to Lincoln Mall

Game on! Family entertainment headed to Lincoln Mall

LINCOLN - After successfully receiving both a full liquor license and victualing license at the Town Council meeting Tuesday night, owners say CW Lanes and Games will "hopefully" open in the Lincoln Mall by next spring.

Rick Starr, who also owns the Cinema World in the same location as well as two in Florida, said the family entertainment center will have 22 10-pin bowling lanes, a laser tag arena, an ticket-redemption arcade room with kids games and a sports bar and grille.

It will be the first family entertainment center for the Florida-based company, Starr said.

The 31,000-square-foot facility with a capacity of 350 will be located on the entire left-hand side of the mall when walking in through the main entrance by Target, with existing tenants, like Claire's, moving across the hall to the other side.

The entrance will be located by the mall's fountain, Starr said, 150 ft. from the Cinema World box office, but not accessible through the theater space.

Starr said build-out will take approximately six months, and can start once existing tenants have moved. He plans to be open nine to 10 months from Aug. 1.

Alcohol will be permitted in every area except laser tag, the license stipulates. Both Starr and councilors agreed that beverages of any kind would be unsafe near the electrical equipment, but they had a longer discussion about whether to allow alcohol in the arcade area.

Starr explained that alcohol would only be served by wait staff at the bar and bowling lanes, but that he could see no way to restrict a father from carrying a beer with him while he supervises his kids in the arcade, which will have half-walls and be open behind the restaurant.

He said while he was on the councilors' side, "Our liquor license is important to us," and he did not want it to be in jeopardy if one individual slipped by into a restricted zone.

"They buy a beer and they're going to go where they want to go," he said.

Councilor Kenneth Pichette said he agreed with Starr, saying, "I don't know if I'm comfortable denying access into a room because it's more controlled."

Councilor Arthur Russo clarified that the concern did not necessarily involve a parent and young child, but rather friends who are 21 and 19, for example, who may use the arcade area to hand off drinks.

When he asked whether the arcade would be like a Dave & Buster's, Starr said it was more comparable to Chuck E. Cheese's.

While councilors were discussing whether to restrict alcoholic beverages in the arcade since there may not be anyone monitoring the drinking, Town Clerk Karen Allen pointed out that employees are required to be TIPS-certified in an establishment with a liquor license.

Most of the councilors agreed that having such staff present in the arcade area would be sufficient, so they voted 4-1 to keep restrictions only on laser tag.

Only Councilor James Jahnz remained opposed to not limiting drinking in the arcade, pointing out that the Council successfully limits alcohol-permitted areas in establishments like Twin River Casino.

CW Lanes and Games is licensed to operate from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., but per town regulations, alcohol can only be served until 1 a.m. The arcade area, which will include games like skee-ball, pinball and a mechanical claw to grab prizes, can operate from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The professional circuit-grade bowling lanes will be used for adult leagues during the days and evenings Monday through Thursday, Starr said, with open bowling available on the weekends. There will also be a VIP area that can be sectioned off by a curtain to allow for bowling parties and corporate functions.

The laser tag area will be mostly used by young adults, Starr said, who use it more for competitive sport like paintball, and children, who will play the game for fun.

The sports bar and restaurant, with a 180-person capacity on its own, will have multiple televisions, Starr said, and a menu similar to that at Joe's American Bar and Grill.

Council President Macksoud joked that the Council would not take kindly to anything other than Patriots gear in the bar, especially that of the Miami Dolphins.

As a Patriots season ticket holder for 25 years, that will not be a problem, Starr said.

Russo wished Starr luck in opening.

"It's an excellent project and an excellent use of space," Russo said, adding that there is already a buzz in town about it among families with young children, like his own.