Golf simulators, axe throwing, baseball simulators, duckpin bowling, darts, pool tables, shuffle board, cornhole, foosball, Golden tee arcade, and ping-pong, not to mention a full-service bar and kitchen… the newly rebranded Inside Golf & Games has all the ingredients for a great time!
“We view ourselves as being a staple in family entertainment for the community,” said Mike Schmid, co-owner of Inside Golf & Games. Along with co-owner Payton Roberts, Inside Golf has expanded their offerings to create an establishment unlike anything else in Ames and Central Iowa. They credit their ability to expand to the community that has continued to support their business.
“The people that live in Ames are amazing people and without their support, through good times and bad, we wouldn’t be here today.”
Inside Golf opened in 2018 at North Grand Mall in Ames and instantly provided a premium golf experience with the comfort of indoor simulators. “We entered this market during a time when only the most invested and advanced golfers were participating,” said Schmid, acknowledging that it was a niche market. “The first few years, we built our customer base around golfers and their families. With every new investment and update, we expanded our market to include a range of new customers.”
The addition of axe throwing in the summer of 2021 was a formative moment for the business. “Although we did not know exactly how that would impact our business, we quickly realized how it attracted a new demographic and changed the overall trajectory of Inside Golf,” said Schmid.
Each week, more people were experiencing a new attraction to Ames. “The excitement around this entertaining sport quickly spread and soon enough, local businesses were contacting us to host their team building events and holiday parties,” said Schmid. “That is when we knew we had a valuable offering for the community of Ames and wanted to invest further.”
As Inside Golf and Axe Throwing became an outlet for more than just golfers, Schmid and his team continued to brainstorm how they could expand the business to truly make it a place for everyone.
They added more space for dart boards and additional pool tables. They booked more corporate events and expanded their axe throwing lanes to fit larger groups. “The additional lanes were filled every weekend,” said Schmid. “After quickly growing our customer base and filling up every weekend we knew we had to do more!”
A partnership with Time to Roll, a local start-up restaurant located within North Grand Mall, formed to create additional food options. After one full season of this partnership across the mall, Inside Golf acquire Time to Roll, and in the process added a new partner to the company, Payton Roberts.
This acquisition of a full-service restaurant inspired the newest expansion of Inside Golf and the addition of more premium activities that includes Baseball Simulators and Duckpin Bowling.
They were fortunate to be able to acquire additional space in North Grand Mall, across from their original location. As this expansion was taking place and they were quickly becoming a premium family entertainment center, the idea of rebranding surfaced as a way to showcase all they had to offer.
“In honor of our original customer base, we wanted to stick with Inside Golf but felt we needed to expand our brand to include everything else,” said Schmid. “We landed on Inside Golf & Games to communicate that we are more than just golf; we offer something to Play, something to Eat, and something to Drink for everyone!”
Thanks to a great partnership with North Grand Mall, they are working to connect their two separate businesses with a patio / common space concept, making it a perfect space to congregate. After hours, their wing of the mall is home to mini games, including cornhole, ping-pong, with more to come. With an exterior entrance and one of the few active locations open later at night, they are a perfect night out with their range of activities.
“Ames needs more family entertainment and things-to-do, and we have been so fortunate to be able to offer just that to the people of Ames.”
Inside Golf & Games is located at North Grand Mall
If you’re looking for a unique night out in Ames, Time Out may be the place for you. A family-owned bar and arcade, Time Out is full of pop culture nostalgia from the 1980’s and 1990’s.
Owned and operated by Chris Harding and her sons, Lance Harding and Logan Ristau, Time Out has been located just off Main Street since 2017. The idea for Time Out began when Harding was looking for a way out of her corporate job in Des Moines. After doing some preliminary research, she pitched an arcade bar to her family, and they ran with it.
“I was at a point in my career where work just wasn’t fun anymore,” recalls Chris, reflecting on the origins of the establishment. “I remember pitching the idea to my sons and they immediately ran with the idea.”
At the time, Chris cashed in her retirement to fund the project and the brothers instantly started rattling off arcade games that they wanted to see included. “Lance and Logan immediately let their imaginations run wild, thinking back to all the arcades they frequented growing up,” said Chris. “The ideas started immediately,” said Logan.
They sketched the design of the logo on a napkin and began work on the layout. They chose the name because they wanted to design it as a place to take a “Time Out” from the daily stresses. Before they knew it, they had a building full of arcade games.
“It’s the little things that provide the atmosphere for Time Out,” said Lance, acknowledging the curated nostalgia that they put into the design. He pointed to a Gremlin that sits atop a television on the wall, or Slimmer from the Ghostbusters movie franchise. “Certainly nostalgia is a big part of our place,” said Lance. “Most of the things you see in here date past 20 years, but that is what creates the immersive experience.”
Moving around Time Out, you may also recognize a life-sized TARDIS in the corner from the Doctor Who series, a Back to the Future poster, and an extensive music video playlist from the MTV era of music videos playing on the televisions throughout the bar. From the Beastie Boys to Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston, the music atmosphere takes your mind away from your daily life. Even their power-button like, teal and black, futuristic logo, pays homage to another 1980’s science fiction film: TRON.
Over the past several years, Time Out has grown a following of dedicated patrons that frequent the establishment. Thursday is known for BINGO night, and each evening on the weekend, Time Out is home to karaoke. They have won various Des Moines People’s Choice Awards, most recently been voted the Best for Trivia Night, Karaoke, Children’s Birthday Party Venue, Date Night Spot, Beer Selection, and Ames Bar. All of this is the result of a family working together and leaning into each other’s strengths.
Lance has an eye for details in game placement and decor that gives Time Out its unique atmosphere. He manages the games to make sure that each one is working properly. This isn’t always easy with some games dating back 30-40 years.
Logan is credited with designing the entire bar and building it from the ground up. He was key in their construction projects, from the stage to the karaoke booth. If Chris and Lance dream it up, Logan builds it. His artistic ability can be seen throughout the facility from the circuits on the front of the bar to the paintings on the wall. Chris is happy to do most of her work behind the scenes to ensure that each customer has a pleasant experience.
Time Out is both family-friendly and a late night hang out, depending on the time of day. “We encourage families to stop by in the afternoons,” said Chris. The list of throwback games continues to expand, but includes Galaga, Ms. Pac Man, Frogger, Super Mario Bros, and Marvel vs. CAPCOM, among others. If those games are not your style, they also have skee-ball and a wide range of pinball games, all of which still take quarters.
Time Out is located at 120 Kellogg Avenue in Ames.
304 Main St.
Ames, Iowa 50010
Phone: (515) 232-2310
About the Ames Chamber
Centrally and conveniently located in the heart of the Midwest and Iowa, Ames is known for its healthy, stable economy, flourishing cultural environment, and the world-renowned Iowa State University.
With over 700 members, the Ames Chamber of Commerce strives to make Ames a better place to live, work, and do business by strengthening the economic vitality and the quality of life in the Ames community.