By Heather Larson
Meetings don’t always need to be held in formal, sterile or stuffy spaces. Sometimes you need to break out of the norm. When you hold your next bash at a bowling center, arcade or race course, you’ll go down in event history as the “fun” meeting planner.
Upon entering the following Northwest venues, meeting goers see and hear what’s normally associated with the feel of recess and a break from the daily grind. The roar of a ball heading towards those ten reluctant pins, the flashing lights, a steel ball ricocheting off bumpers and the sound of a racing engine might just get these folks into a playful mood before the serious work begins.
Look at what’s available for your upcoming reunions, receptions, corporate events, conferences, product launches and fundraisers.
Acme Bowl has hosted a variety of events including team building, bar and bat mitzvahs, birthdays and awards ceremonies. Ex-Seahawk Marcus Trufant’s Trufant Family Foundation Bowling Classic has been held here every year since the venue opened.
You might not be familiar with Tukwila, but it’s situated in the same zip code as SeaTac Airport, making it a central location between Seattle and Tacoma. Hundreds of free parking spaces also contribute to the appeal. Featuring bowling and billiards, Acme Bowl also serves as a meeting space that accommodates 1,000 guests if you rent the entire 51,000 square-foot venue. Scaling it down some, you can book a 700 square-foot room with a table and chairs or even a private ten-lane bowling lounge that accommodates up to 150 guests.
Sales Director Tasha Wood says companies often provide bowling and catered meals for their employees after the conclusion of a daytime meeting. Acme’s in-house caterer makes all the menu items from scratch, and you can order entrees as upscale as prime rib and grilled salmon or as casual as pizza and finger foods.
Wood promises, “Our venue is modern, sleek, clean and family-friendly. Having built-in entertainment is also a huge plus. We have a total of 40 bowling lanes, seven pool tables, two tournament-sized shuffleboard tables and an arcade.”
“We strive to make the planning process as easy and worry-free as possible for our clients and our goal is always to make you look good,” she says.
Start your engines ladies and gentlemen. Take to the track in high-performance go-karts that reach 35 miles per hour. Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing and other leading Northwest businesses have all done it when holding corporate events here.
You’ll find the racing theme continues into the meeting space with checkered tablecloths and trophies on display. The Formula One conference room measures 327 square feet and holds 20 people, while the Winner’s Circle banquet room at 866 square feet has room for 50. Need more space? Open the divider doors.
Both rooms offer an HDTV with HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) hookups. Free WiFi is available throughout the facility.
“Racing is our main attraction and the starting point for events,” says Chris Kruse, general manager. “But groups can add on use of the climbing wall, the Velcro sticky wall, a pit crew challenge (using real air guns to change tires), billiard tables and more.”
“All that can be yours for the same amount of money you’d spend to rent a hotel meeting room,” Kruse says.
Schedule your next benefit, bachelor or bachelorette party, birthday, wedding or most any other event here and you also have access to the arcade as part of the package. Retro games that bring back nostalgic memories for most adults line the walls. The owners want guests to act like kids, that’s why they named the arcade “Dorky’s.”
Caroline Dennewith, owner, partner and manager says, “We have 7,600 square feet of meeting space. I can keep your event simple or pack it full of things to do. I can provide prizes, extra seating, a private host or music, all for additional costs.”
Groups can order off the pizza menu or if they’d like something different in the way of food, Dennewith says groups can consult with her about off-menu items.
WAHOOZ FAMILY FUN ZONE & PINZ BOWLING CENTER
Families will beg to accompany meeting goers to this venue. You’ll find a water park, bowling center, a new indoor adventure park and fun zone all in one large family entertainment complex. Although the water park, Roaring Springs, only opens in the summer months, the rest of the complex runs all year.
Consider Wahooz for holiday parties, group events, company picnics, church groups, sports teams and family reunions. Many groups have successfully held these and other types of events here.
“We offer packages that include all or some of the attractions,” says Tiffany Quilici, sales and marketing director.
The designated meeting space measures 700 square feet and seats 200 guests. Or you can divide it into three separate meeting rooms, depending on your needs. Each of those rooms comes with its own full audiovisual setups.
Wahooz in-house caterer offers hand-carved meats, steak, salmon or a barbecue or pizza party and almost anything in between.
Seal the deal by adding the Heights & Strikes Teambuilding Package in the new Indoor Adventure Park. Quilici says it lasts three hours, includes bowling, a ropes course, laser tag, laser maze and more all led by a team-building expert.
Typical meet-ups in this 800 square-foot venue take place during the evening hours, says owner Will Hay. Known as the “Arcade Underground,” Spacebar’s subterranean location reminds guest of the Chinese tunnels, underground opium dens and speakeasies of yesteryear.
“Our talented staff, well-curated jukebox, pinball machines, arcade games, beer and wine selections make Spacebar tempting to meeting planners,” Hay says.
Spacebar has various original Nintendo games hooked up to the flat screens. Guests can play them without charge. They also have old standard board games like Scrabble and Clue plus newer ones, including Settlers of Catan, Dominion and Cards Against Humanity.
Their technology equipment includes two flat screen TVs, both with Google Chromecast and HDMI hookups, wireless mics and the capability to connect any devices for sound through the house speakers. “We like to think of ourselves as an art museum for video games and pinball machines,” says Hay. “We also love to entertain and our goal is to have each guest leave fully satisfied.”
GRAND CENTRAL RESTAURANT & BOWLING LOUNGE
Guests can hit either the lanes or arcade, or both, while on the premises. Gatherings of from 12 to 400 people feel comfortable here. Their three event spaces can be combined or left separate. The Morrison Room accommodates up to 25 guests, The Firesides suits 30 to 40 individuals comfortably and the Flex Space, which comes with a projector and screen, seats between 50 and 60 individuals. Film, technology, apparel, cannabis and other industries have utilized this meeting space at different times. Each event package is designed individually to best meet the needs of that Grand Central client.
Danielle Gibson, events and promotions manager, explains that each of the 12 bowling lanes is furnished with a leather couch giving a high-end feeling to the bowling alley. “The game room features the hottest titles in arcade play,” she says.
About sustenance, Gibson says, “We proudly prepare all our food in-house from scratch, utilizing local ingredients whenever possible. Our extensive craft beer menu reflects our local community of brewers, and our craft cocktails should satisfy any craving.”
Grand Central prides itself on a highly trained and professional event staff who regularly receive outstanding reviews, says Gibson.
At QuarterWorld, the gaming machines take actual quarters, a sure sign of a retro arcade. But this one comes with a steampunk theme. Maybe the boss will spot his employees each a roll of quarters for after the meeting. The tech savvy can download their PayRange app and use a credit card instead of coins. “With more than 90 games onsite there is something for everyone,” says Donna Paris, financial and administrative director.
You can reserve the lounge area, a 2,500 square-foot space with the capacity for 50 people or book the entire arcade and accommodate up to 250 guests. “We have two full bars and a kitchen,” says Paris. “The menu features baos and banh mi sandwiches.” But if the standard menu doesn’t appeal to you, the kitchen staff can whip up just about anything.
Wahooz Family Fun Zone &
Pinz Bowling Center
The Grand Central Restaurant & Bowling