Saturday, January 31, 2009

My First Time: StrikeCity

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 1/31/2009 No comments
Last night my homeboy Lenny and I attended the grand opening of StrikeCity at EpiCentre. I'm not going to spend too much time describing StrikeCity here but to let you know that it's a bowling alley on steroids and you should check it out.

StrikeCity has more TVs than you can count--I can assure you've never seen more projection screens and plasmas in one place. That makes me think it will become just as popular as a sports bar as it will a bowling alley. The place was packed when we got there a little after 8 p.m. We managed to snag a seat at one of the bars, which was perfect for us to watch the Boston Celtics-Detroit Pistons game (Celtics guard Ray Allen is from our high school). I ordered a drink and the chicken Parmesan sandwich with fries, and my food arrived in five minutes. I knew that StrikeCity had a partnership with Libretto's Pizza next door but I didn't expect my food to get there so quickly and so hot.

So we're sitting at the bar along the front counter, and the side counter of the L-shaped bar extends into one of the bowling alley's private rooms. We could see directly into the room's lounge area, but we couldn't see the private lanes that were around the corner. While chomping on my sandwich in between glancing up at the game, who do I see standing five feet away from me as he walks up to the bar? None other than Dale Earnhardt Jr. himself.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the bar. I didn't bring my digital camera, so all I could muster were these camera phone pics.

I've met Dale Jr. a couple of times before at NASCAR races and media events, but this is the first time I've ever seen him out in a social setting. He was classic Jr.--collared shirt with the sleeves rolled up and blue jeans (couldn't tell you if they were Wrangler's, though). It was him and his crew, including several attractive women, hanging in the private room. I saw a couple of his homeys motion for hot chicks to come around from our side on over to their side. Hey, that's one of the primary roles of members of an entourage. Man Law.

And I must say, not only was the food excellent, but so was the service. Our bartenders were Jack and Jill, two hotties in their own right (short for Jackie and Jillian, if I remember correctly). I asked Jill to recommend a drink and she told me I should have the Mighty Mouse. I'd never heard of it but she made it of 151 Absolut, Amaretto, 99 Bananas, orange juice, pineapple juice, and Sprite. I now think I have a new favorite drink.

Jill, left, and Jack are bartenders at StrikeCity.

This was my second night in a row hanging at EpiCentre. Lenny was in town for a couple of days and when I have friends visiting I usually end up going out more than I would ordinarily. Plus, this happened to be a week when I had tickets/invites to a couple of events. Thursday night we went to the Swatches & Scotches event at Suite. It was to introduce the launching of Astor & Black Custom Clothiers in Charlotte. That was the swatches reference; the scotches was the free samples of scotch. We stayed there for a couple of hours then went to Mez for dinner, the trendy restaurant that's connected to Epicentre Theaters. Mez was crowded, too, as was PJ's Coffee & Lounge, which we only popped into for a minute before heading home.

It's going to be interesting to see how the EpiCentre continues to transform nightlife in uptown Charlotte. I think StrikeCity was the last major opening for the massive entertainment complex. If you haven't been to EpiCentre yet, you have to see it for yourself. It's like an outlet mall of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, with a few shops and the Aloft Hotel sprinkled in between.


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