Epicenter sports and entertainment complex in Santa Rosabrings it all indoors
There’s something about the new Epicenter Sports and Entertainment complex in northwest Santa Rosa that suggests a circus atmosphere.
Standing in the long, sprawling, high-ceilinged building, with a happily noisy game arcade on one side and a row of bowling lanes just the beyond the wall on the other side, you can imagine yourself under the big top.
Three years in the planning and fully open since late December, Epicenter is the new home of the long-established Sports City, which brings outdoor sports indoors with soccer fields, as well as multipurpose courts for basketball and more.
The $18 million complex in a former warehouse also houses a trampoline court, a restaurant with local craft beers on tap, a laser tag arena and a virtual reality, multisensory ride. There’s even a Starbucks.
And sports fans don’t have to miss any big games while they’re there, with 120 TV screens scattered around the building.
Think of it as a sort of indoor Disneyland specifically designed to appeal to adults.
“Our goal is to pack as much fun as possible into a single building, and create a space that’s really built for adults but still appropriate for kids, where the entire family can come,” said Joe Lourdeaux, Epicenter’s vice president of development.
“It’s the only facility of its kind on the West Coast,” he added. “It’s a building that anyone can have fun in, no matter what your interest is. A very diverse group of people can come here, break apart, have an absolute blast and then come back to share a meal and talk about it.”
The Epicenter has already proven its multigenerational appeal to the family of Keith Baker, 39, a Forestville English teacher and actor.
“My family is quickly going broke taking our 2-year-old to jump and climb in the playground,” Baker joked. “It’s also great to let the little one watch a soccer game for awhile, and we look forward to bowling with him when he’s a little older.”
On a recent afternoon, patrons in Epicenter’s Victory House restaurant included a couple entertaining out-of-town friends and their children, who loved the arcade, and an off-duty firefighter who stopped by for lunch and was happy to have a new choice of eatery nearby.
“It’s cool to have this place at this end of town,” he said.
There were even a couple of Epicenter’s teenage employees who stayed after work to hang out.
Another Epicenter fan commented via Facebook, “Each time was a new experience for me, but a very positive experience in that the folks who work there understand that they are in the hospitality business.”
In a way, Epicenter is a bit like a hotel or resort, but without rooms to rent, except for conferences and meetings.
Adam Gabriel Reyes of Santa Rosa, well within Epicenter’s target demographic at 33, caught the spirit of the place when he said, “Hey, it’s a casino without gambling.”
Colin Knight, Epicenter’s general manager, said the complex is all of that and more.
“We wanted to be inclusive,” he said. We wanted to create as much fun per square foot as we could.”
You can reach staff writer Dan Taylor at 707-521-5243 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @danarts.
Arts & Entertainment, The Press Democrat
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