When you first walk into Strikers Sports Bar and Grill on Michael Road in West Seneca, it looks like any other low-key area establishment. But there’s a key difference between Strikers and other bars, obvious from the fluorescent, blinking ball and pins outside and the constant cacophony within: In addition to staples like a pool table and dartboard, Strikers boasts 24 bowling lanes.
The large, dimly lit restaurant opens up to the bowling area, which is also accessible from its own outside door. League bowlers had the floor on a recent Friday night, and the lanes looked like a scene out of “The Big Lebowski.” Pitchers of beer, delivered by waitresses for the league members, were plentiful, as were arcade games and vending machines. A limited menu is available at the bowling counter.
However, Strikers is welcoming to nonbowlers as well. True to its sports bar moniker, the restaurant area features half a dozen TVs at the bar showing basketball, golf and hockey. A stream of classic rock hits play soundtrack for the games as they vie for attention over the distant crash of pins and the buzz of chatter from bar and restaurant patrons. The roughly 20 tables were crowded, filled with people relaxing after the work week and catching up with friends over a drink or two or three. Exclamations and laughter punctuated the background din every now and then, showing that at Strikers, it’s all about having a good time – snobs need not apply.
I sat at a corner table by the front door, across from the large bar that dominates the back wall. The menu was filled with typical bar fare – subs, pizza, wings, beef on weck – all for reasonable prices. The deep-fried pickles ($2.99) were crispy and hot, but they arrived in their red, plastic tray without any dipping sauce. The crowd was mostly middle-age, but several families with children and a few young adults were also there to catch a quick bite.
Though the food, wine and liquor offerings may be typical, the beer selection was surprisingly vast. In addition to the usual selections of the Bud Light and Labatt Blue variety on tap and in bottles, Strikers has more than 40 other bottled beers to choose from, with prices ranging from $2.75 (Genny Cream Ale, anyone?) to $8.50. There is also a rotating selection of specialty brews on tap for $4 each, with a sampler of four offered for $5. From IPAs to lagers to seasonal brews, if you want it, Strikers probably has it. I chose an Ithaca Beer Co. Apricot Wheat ($4), and was pleasantly surprised at its deep yet fruity taste.
One disappointment to note: When I asked the waitress for a specialty beer recommendation, she neither gave a personal favorite nor offered to ask the bartender for any suggestions. After a reply that she didn’t like darker beers so she couldn’t really help me, she just waited for my choice. Both bartenders I talked to were very friendly and helpful, but with such an extensive selection of beers to choose from, waitresses who know what they’re selling would be a real plus.
Despite that one low, if you’re looking for a place to escape the cold, throw back a few beers and perhaps knock down a few pins, laid-back, fun-loving Strikers is the place to go.