September 9, 2022
Trying to concisely describe Decades Lancaster is a tough one because it’s so many wonderful things all rolled into one. But I’ll give it a shot: Decades Lancaster is an adult playground with an eclectic boutique restaurant, chic neighborhood bar, bowling ally, retro-arcade games & outdoor picnic spot with lawn games!!
Whether you’re looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon or evening, a unique date night spot, a place to entertain every generation of your family, a gathering spot for friends or a nostalgic venue to book for a special celebration, Decades Lancaster checks all the boxes.
Here’s 17 things you need to know about Decades Lancaster to make the most of your visit there.
Decades Lancaster is located at 438 N Queen St, Lancaster
Queen Street is a one-way road with free on street parking available on both sides of the street. If you’re not in the mood to circle the block in hopes of finding an open spot, you’re in luck. The North Queen Street Garage is just next door to Decades with plenty of parking spots to choose from a reasonable hourly rate.
It’s never a bad idea to check their website to ensure nothing’s changed, but as it stands now, here are Decades hours of operation. You can also check their Facebook page for specials & announcements including the occasional day when they’re closed for a private party.
With an entertainment venue as fantastic as Decades Lancaster, you could forgive them if the food were simply so-so… but don’t worry, you won’t need to. The food is Ah-mazing!! Their Appetizers, Burgers & Sandwiches, Entrees and Desserts are simply out of this world. The dishes are flavorful, perfectly portioned and beautifully presented.
You don’t need to worry about becoming bored with the food choices at Decades either. The menu gets regular updates, often seasonally, but at other times as well based on the mood / inspiration of the in-house chef.
Decades’ has a 42 foot long, 20 seats bar that was custom built by Benchdogs (a local Ephrata company), and it’s stunning. Sit in one of the comfy leather bar stools and order a signature cocktail, local craft beer or sommelier selected wine. There’s also a second bar (The Space Bar… these owners are very ‘punny’) over by the bowling lanes (open weekends) if the main bar gets backed up.
While Decades Lancaster is not a sports bar, they have 2 large TVs if you want to keep track of your team.
If you have special dietary constraints or choices, the chef at Decades has your back! There are a number of creative and tasty vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options on the menu. A couple current menu items include a Nashville Hot Vegan Sandwich & Vegan Beef BBQ Bites… which by the way are delicious enough to make you ‘go vegan’ (well…maybe YOU, not me, I’ll never give up bacon!)
The atmosphere at Decades Lancaster is what pulls the whole show together. Black leather banquettes, dark wood tables, bar, crystal chandeliers give the space a level of sophistication you’re not going to find at your neighborhood bowling alley. The designers struck the perfect balance of elegance that’s not stuffy; whimsical that’s not cheesy.
Are you a fan of the TV show “House of Cards”? If you’ve got a super-keen eye, you may recognize the large crystal chandeliers and the cool lights hanging over the bar that were part of the sets in the show “House of Cards”. If only sets could talk!
Decades has 30 retro arcade games that will transport you back to your days at the roller rink! Ms. Pac-Man, Asteroids, Donkey Kong and more! If you enjoy a more ‘active’ game, they also have speed- basketball & SkeeBall. Games cost either 1 or 2 tokens.
FUN FACT: The #12 rated SkeeBall player in the country has come in & played at Decades a couple times… in fact, you can blame him as the reason Decades doesn’t offer prizes like a neon sign to the person who beats the current top score (he’s done that TWICE!).
There’s no need to bring quarters with you to play. You can buy tokens from the front reception desk, your server (they can add them to your bill), a bartender or the J.R.R. Token Machine (again with the puns!!)!
Tokens: 25 cents per token
Decades have 6 regulation bowling lanes with string set pins. Scores are maintained on digital screens for you.. NO MATH! Bowling lanes are not reservable and are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. When you arrive, simply head to the front reservation desk and find out what time a lane will be available. Lanes can accommodate up to 6 players are rented by the hour. There are an assortment of bowling balls to use.
If you’re in the mood to eat / hang outside, Decades makes that fun too! They’ve got Cornhole set up, large Jenga sets & other outdoor games to play while you eat and drink at picnic tables.
Children under 8 must have adult with them at all times and are welcome to come any time up until 8:30 pm. Families should plan their meal & gaming accordingly… this curfew is in writing EVERYWHERE so don’t even think about acting all surprised if a security person strolls up to you and reminds you that you and your super-cute kiddos need to head home so the big kids can play!
For all you grouchy people who don’t like kids, people prone to swearing or people who simply want to FEEL like they’re in a grown-up, upscale, totally hip place to hang out… rest assured that Decades kicks the kids out at 8:30 each night!! The venue magically transforms into an Adult-only entertainment venue and all guests must be 21+ at this point.
While every guest at Decades is treated like royalty by the staff, there are a few “Famous People” who have visited, most notably, the band Green Day who booked space ahead of time to celebrate Billie Joe Armstrong’s birthday while they were working on an upcoming tour at Rock Lititz.
FUN FACT: When the band finished up at Decades they moved the party over to the Belvedere. The STAFF at Decades has never cleaned up at the end of the night so quickly… so they could catch the Karaoke-after-party!!
Here’s the story that ran in LNP: https://wmmr.com/2020/02/20/green-day-were-bowling-singing-karaoke-in-lancaster-last-night/.
The other celeb who’s made a Decades appearance is Dan Akroyd, who popped over during a private event (a wedding no less!) to promote his Crystal Head Vodka while he was in town. Here’s the story that ran on WGAL: https://www.wgal.com/article/actor-dan-aykroyd-signs-bottles-of-his-vodka-in-lancaster-centerville-square/29815993
The “Decades building” was built in two phases. The three story office building along North Queen dates to 1936, while the back 15,000 sq ft “gymnasium” at the back dates to 1928. The back portion was an Armory, a home of the Lancaster Red Roses, a professional basketball team, and a theater (Theatre of the Seventh Sister). The building was vacant when the current owners ‘discovered it’ & realized that it was the perfect place to implement their vision for a boutique bowling, dining and entertainment venue.
Whether you want some swag for yourself or to give as a gift, Decades does sell T-shirts, zip up hoodies, pint glasses, coffee mugs, and mini beer tasting glasses. They also can sell Crowlers of beer to go.
Another fun thing they sell are Decades branded lanyards. Why?? Well, because they also sell some of their cocktails in pouches, so if you buy a lanyard you can have a hands free arcade experience! (Well the drinking can be hands free… you still have to use your hands to play the games, right?!).
Additionally, Decades sells gift cards that you can buy or replenish online, so it makes a great last-minute gift for your super-cool friends & family members.
If you’re in need of some “Retail Therapy” either before or after visiting Decades, you’re in the right part of town. The 300 Block of N. Queen Street has a wonderful oasis of quaint boutique, gift shops, book stores, wine tasting rooms & the like. If you love “supporting local” this is totally the place to do it!
Some of the best things about Decades Lancaster are also things you’ll find at the Historic Smithton Inn Bed and Breakfast! The Smithton Inn has a rich history dating back to 1763, has been meticulously restored, is beautifully decorated, the staff focuses on customer service and the breakfasts are fantastic! The Smithton Inn even has an on-site wine bar with live music (open Friday – Sunday), for something to do on the evenings you’re NOT at Decades!!
There are nine rooms to choose from including queen sized guest rooms and king sized suites. EVERY room has a private, in-room bathroom and fireplace. And if you’re driving an electric car, we even have a Tesla & Clipper Creek charging station.
Book Your Room today & enjoy a wonderful getaway in Lancaster, PA!
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