From the moment you step inside Plano’s newest entertainment spot, Pinstack, it’s obvious this is no run-of-the-mill bowling alley.
The 50,000-square-foot space, which opened quietly last week, houses 28 lanes, a full-service restaurant, a coffee bar, and an arcade/game room that rivals the likes of Dave and Buster’s. With its cedar-laden walls and trendy menu offerings, Pinstack is “more sophisticated, and certainly more contemporary” than your typical family-centric bowling alley, says Jason Prowell, chief operating officer of parent company Entertainment Properties Group.
The venue is supposed to enjoyable for all ages, he says, not just kids. That’s why the eatery and arcade are comfortably separated, and a portion of the bowling area is 21-and-up after 9 p.m.
Pinstack is the first of its kind in North Texas, though crews are expected to begin construction soon on a second location in Alliance Town Center in Fort Worth. If all goes well (Prowell thinks it will), Entertainment Properties Group will likely look to expand the brand beyond North Texas.
“I’ve been up here every day for the last two months and people walk in saying, ‘We’re so glad you’re here. We’ve needed entertainment in West Plano,’” Prowell says, adding that Pinstack hosted several thousand customers during opening weekend.
Here’s what you can expect from a visit.
The first noticeable feature at Pinstack is the restaurant dining room, a naturally lit area with an open kitchen and seats for about 140. For being a bowling alley, the menu doesn’t look bad either. Offerings, created by chef Adam Holt, include hummus, parmesan fries, kale salad, salmon and burgers made with fresh ingredients. Pinstack makes its pizza dough from scratch and Prowell promises seasonally rotating items. Better still – you can order from the full menu alley-side.
Pinstack has two bars serving spirits, wine from the cask and local craft beer. No pitchers, though – Prowell says this isn’t a place to slosh suds all over the table.
Picture more than 100 games crammed into a 7,000-square-foot space -- it's enough blinking lights to make your head spin. Classic games, such as Skee Ball and Cyclone, tuck in next to newer inventions like giant Connect Four and an ice cream crane game. (That last one is similar to the traditional crane game, but it reaches into a freezer full of ice cream rather than a pool of stuffed animals.) Even mobile games such as Candy Crush and Flappy Tickets (read: Flappy Bird knock-off) made their way onto the floor.
The real sellers, though, are the interactive setups -- laser tag, bumper cars, and rock climbing walls (the only ones in America with programmable LED climbing handles). Patrons also get an aerial view of the game room from a ropes course that hovers above the action.
Gamers use a card to both pay and collect tickets. According to Prowell, most games cost between two and four “points” (one point equals 25 cents), aside from the interactive features, which can cost up to 20 points ($5).
The bowling alley
Of Pinstack’s bowling lanes, 20 are general admission and eight are VIP. Prowell described the VIP section as a “Vegas-style feel” with nicer, high-backed booths and bigger TV screens. These lanes are in a private area, but come at a price. Pinstack charges minimum $28 per hour for a lane during the week and $45 per hour on weekends. GA lanes cost $18 an hour during the week and $34 on weekends. Shoes rentals price $4 for adults and $3 for kids.