There’s a lot to like at the brand new The Wild Game entertainment center and restaurant in Longmont, Colorado. From bowling to ping-pong, arcade games to a full service restaurant, it seems perfectly designed to maximize fun for everyone in the family, and all in a beautiful new facility.
We had a chance to go a few days ago and check it out during opening week and while there was lots we liked, there were also some issues that we’ll mark down as “opening week hiccups” but are still worth knowing about.
To start, the facility is at the southern edge of Longmont, making it a quick 15min drive from Boulder. It’s 28,000-square-feet and includes upscale dining, two bars with dozens of beers on tap, bowling, billiards, darts, bocce ball, ping pong, shuffleboard, foosball, cornhole, a video game arcade for kids and adults and private party rooms. It’s lovely, including a big fireplace:
Behind the fireplace is the downstairs bar area. To the right is the restaurant. To the left (behind the sign) is bar seating and sharp left are ping-pong tables, while the bowling alleys are essentially directly behind us.
My family, we’re all into bowling – with varying degrees of success – so that’s what we did first, and oh, what a pleasure to bowl on a brand new alley, as my older daughter, Ashley, demonstrates:
With only 8 lanes, it’s a modest bowling alley, but it’s also upscale and a real pleasure compared to most of the run-down snacks-from-Costco bowling alleys that seem to define bowling in most cities. One real weirdness that caused much amusement is that instead of a more traditional pin sweep and reset mechanism, The Wild Game has “string pins”: each pin is connected to the overhead mechanism with a string. When the pins are reset, it looks quite a lot like the marionettes from Team America: World Police. At least, that’s what I kept thinking as I found myself continually amused watching the Dance of the Fallen Pins. [Read more: StringPin from Brunswick]
While we were bowling we started out with a sampler of appetizers: pretzel sticks with cheese sauce (delish, but needed more pretzels on the plate) and edamame (enthusiastic feedback from everyone). My younger daughter, K-, ordered from a slightly different section of the menu instead:
That towering monstrosity features a brownie, lots of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, a chocolate drizzle and, yes, a cherry on top. Even with four of us eating, it won. Not surprisingly, it’s called the Chocolate Brownie Sundae and it’s delicious but boy, it’s a lotta dessert!
After bowling we headed over to play some ping-pong, which was definitely amusing because we were all in the mood to goof off while “playing” rather than take it seriously. The two guys on the adjacent table did great retaining their sense of humor while tossing back our ball again, and again, and again!
It’s a pleasure to play with brand new equipment. Unfortunately none of us were very good at ping-pong so it was more hit-and-fetch than actual volleys. But perhaps that’s how the game works?!
We then headed to their modest but jam-packed arcade area, with an interesting combination of midway arcade and modern video games. Lots of flashing lights, but surprisingly quiet, which was a nice and rather unexpected twist. Or perhaps I’m just becoming inured to it all!
Even though it was less than a week since The Wild Game opened, I was surprised how many games were down or broken. One broke while we were there too, and for much of our time in the arcade area a manager was fiddling, trying to get it back online. One can only imagine how they’re going to be after a few months of aggressive middle schoolers and high school kids!
Speaking of the X Games SNOCROSS game, Ashley and her boyfriend Dylan both quite enjoyed themselves racing snowmobiles through a strange fantasy course that included a snow-covered path that wound through the front lawn of the White House, of all places. I don’t recall who won, but the two of them are surprisingly competitive when put in a position like this, so it’s amusing just to watch them play:
For our part, K- and I played Jurassic Park and did our best to work as a team and keep all those pesky wild dinosaurs away while we motored through the jungles. We did pretty well, but I died and was out before she was. I think she had a secret button to convince all the dinosaurs to attack me!
The arcade is powered by a points card: $20 gets you 125 points and then each game costs a set number of points. The more desirable the game, the more points it costs. Some of the midway games issue “tickets” that go on the card too; you then go to the gift area and can cash in your tickets for candy, trinkets and other prizes. Pretty typical stuff and definitely aimed more at the kid set than at adults.
My biggest criticism of the video and midway arcade area is that there are zero pinball machines. Even one would have been nice as pinball is by far my favorite arcade game. Maybe someday…
Once we ran low on points we decided to grab dinner and took over a corner booth at the restaurant area. Dylan and I both ordered the Spicy Turkey burger, me with tater tots, him with sweet potato fries, K- ordered the pepperoni pizza, and Ashley ordered the Portobello Sandwich. And they only got two of our orders right. Perhaps it’s “new restaurant syndrome” but it was very frustrating to have Dylan be given something completely different (we still don’t know what it was) and Ashley get a portobello mushroom on a hamburger bun — “sandwich” implied bread to her, not bun — that wasn’t even properly cooked.
They prepare all their food from scratch at The Wild Game, and it does come out looking good:
We sent back Ashley’s mushroom sandwich and Dylan’s mystery sandwich and it was a long time before the replacement food arrived. A long time. By the time it did show up, I was done with my meal and it was delicious. But the timing juggle was frustrating and disappointing and certainly Ashley was really torn whether to eat her sandwich, even with it being undercooked, or send it back to be properly grilled.
While K-‘s pizza looked delicious it was a B or even B- in taste, with the spice of the pepperoni covering up any other flavors. Worse, she really wanted pineapple on her pizza [apparently she doesn’t know the President of Iceland] which they couldn’t deliver up.
Was it opening week jitters and a new staff learning how to work together? Quite possibly.
We’ll definitely give The Wild Game in Longmont another try for food, but even if you chose not to eat a meal there (and you should give ’em a try, it’s quite a godo menu with burgers, sandwiches, pizzas and much more), there are lots of snack options and a full bar, along with plenty of games and entertainment.
This sort of entertainment center setup works great for families too: Mom bowls with a few friends while Dad and his buddies are watching the big game. And the kids? Each has their own card for the arcade area. Perfect.
The Wild Game Entertainment Experience, 2251 Ken Pratt Blvd, Longmont CO. TheWildGameLongmont.com/
Disclosure: The Wild Game gave us a gift card that covered everything we ate, drank and played. Which was great!