A local bowling alley will soon be reborn into a rock venue on Youngstown’s west side.
Strikers Lanes on Mahoning Avenue now has new owners, and Nate and Jamie Offerdahl have been looking to open a rock spot around Youngstown for almost 20 years.
Their dream became a reality earlier this month when they bought the 30,000 square foot retro bowling alley. Now the work to upgrade it into a hot spot for local bands and national tours begins.
To kick things off, the Offerdahls held a concert Friday night with the Cincinnati band Tooth Lures a Fang.
“We’ve been open since day one, we’ll be open through the end of the renovation. We’re not going to close a single day,” Nate said.
Those renovations will include removing eight bowling lanes, and replacing them with a stage and viewing area.
The building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system must be upgraded, along with some electrical equipment. Updates will also be made to the inside, modernizing the retro look.
The kitchen will continue to serve pizzas and bar food. The arcade area, which currently has a pool table and an air hockey game, will get some additional games and upgrades.
“My wife and I’s goal was never to buy a bowling alley. The goal was to start a music venue that could hold 500 people,” Nate said.
That’s exactly what they found in Strikers, along with an authentic 1950s feel.
Strikers was built in 1957 and has had many names over the years. It was called Gran Lanes when it first opened, and would later be known as A Plus Bowling and Mahoning Valley Lanes.
It’ll now be called West Side Bowl.
“It wasn’t until the place we decided we really wanted fell through that we started looking again, and my wife actually was the one who found that this place was for sale,” Nate said.
On Friday, the budding rock spot hosted its first show in the building’s basement. That’s where all the live entertainment will take place during the renovations.
“The reason we bought such a big space is because we want to have national touring bands play here on a regular basis,” Nate said.
They want an atmosphere that is open to everyone of any age.
Nate said the plan is to book eight touring bands every month, which will include adding local bands to that lineup. Comedy tours, dance parties and community fundraisers are also in the works.