Since launching, in 2013, the popular 16-Bit bar-cade concept built around the nostalgia of classic arcade games, Troy Allen has been on an absolute tear. Under the banner of Rise Brands, Allen and his team have gone on to open three additional 16-Bit locations in Ohio (including Lakewood) and have units under construction in Charlotte, Nashville and Indianapolis. Allen followed that concept up with Pins Mechanical Co., another “alternative entertainment” attraction that combines duckpin bowling, pinball machines and other diversions. Currently, there are three Ohio locations with three more on the way in Charlotte, Nashville and Indianapolis.
The next pin on the map for Allen is the heart of Ohio City. The Daniels Furniture store (1882 W. 25th St.) across the street from Mitchell’s Ice Cream will become the site of a combined 16-Bit and Pins Mechanical Co. The ambitious construction project will result in a multi-level 28,000-square-foot complex with indoor and outdoor spaces. The two concepts will be distinct but physically connected, allowing guests to move back and forth on the same tab.
By removing a large section of the main floor near the entrance, the owners will create a dramatic vista that looks down into the lower-level bowling alley as if you’re standing on a mezzanine.
“Like with Cincinnati, the coolest thing is you walk in and you’re like, ‘Oh, shit,’” Allen says.
Guests can walk down to the lanes, over to the bar, or up to the rooftop, and all will be constructed behind the original façade.
Allen says that a few years into the 16-Bit era they observed some trends that ended up changing the trajectory of the company.
“We learned a lot from 16-Bit about the industry,” he explains. “We started hosting a lot of larger groups and corporate events. And as we kept opening more 16-Bits, they kept getting bigger to accommodate more people, so we started working on something new, which ended up being Pins Mechanical Co.”
Allen adds that the concepts not only are larger, but more diversified. There are the duckpin bowling lanes, but also 40 pinball machines, foosball, ping-pong and indoor and outdoor bocce. Duckpin bowling features lanes that are regulation width, but shorter. Smaller balls means that it’s easier to bowl with a drink in your hand. And you get to wear your own shoes. Mechanical pinsetters do all the work of positioning the 10 squat pins.
“Decor-wise, they are very industrial, but comfortable, so we have textures like natural brick, metal and hardwood softened by vintage chesterfield couches that allow people to really settle in,” he adds. “One of the big things for us is length of stay; our average guest stays between two and three hours.”
To drink, there will be dozens of local, regional and national draft beers, wines, cocktails and punches. Neither 16-Bit nor Pins establishments have kitchens; they rely on and partner with neighborhood food providers. Guests can bring in what they like. Both spots are family friendly until 8 p.m.
Allen says that the Ohio City deal was the result of a protracted search.
“Cleveland was a tough one for us,” he says. “We’ve been looking for a long time. Everything we looked at had either fallen through or not worked out.”
The goal, says Allen, is to begin construction soon after the first of the year with an opening day sometime in the second quarter of 2020. He added that additional Northeast Ohio properties are likely as the organization typically follows a “hub-and-spoke model,” where one urban location is followed by additional suburban units.
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