Charlotte’s new ‘action bar’: No-kids nights, self-pour cocktails, laser tag, more

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Courtesy of Coliseum V
Coliseum V on East Independence Boulevard is set to open Sept. 19.

The new “action bar” Coliseum V is still figuring out a few details before its Sept. 19 grand opening, owner Phil McHugh said.

He’s still hiring, he’s waiting on the liquor license and he’s already changed the pay rates for games.

The action bar previously announced customers could pay for virtual reality booths by the hour. But to keep it simple, he has decided customers will pay for all activities — virtual reality games, archery tag and laser tag 2.0 — by the half hour, at a rate of $12.95.

Change is built into the business concept, McHugh said. He said the action bar at 2801 E. Independence Blvd. can be whatever people want — and that includes its name.

People have already asked how to pronounce Coliseum V, he said. Is it “V” or “Five”?

“It’s all the above,” he said. “We call it Coliseum V (the letter), but at the same time, we’re not particular. This place is everything you make it out to be. I really wanted to create a place that is totally different.”

The 4,000-square-foot action field inside the bar is covered in obstacles on wheels, he said. If needed, the field could be cleared in minutes for a pop-up yoga class.

He has three goals for his new business:

  • It should be fun and repeatable.
  • It needs to be unique.
  • It should cause social interaction.

If anything doesn’t fit his criteria, he’ll change it.

Courtesy of Coliseum V
Coliseum V on East Independence Boulevard is set to open Sept. 19.

‘Something different’

The self-pour bar will feature food trucks and 72 taps of beers, wine, pre-mixed cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks.

The 22 virtual reality booths have a library of 180 games that guests can choose from. Customers can even pick the same game from different VR booths and play together, McHugh said.

The bar will have archery tag — think dodgeball with bow and arrows — and Laser 2.0 — a mission-based, two-team version of laser tag.

“People want a fun, memorable experience and they’re looking for something different,” McHugh said.

Adult swim

That’s what he hopes Coliseum V will provide. McHugh’s target market is the over-21 crowd, but it will be family friendly as well.

But on Friday and Saturday nights, the adults get it to themselves. After 8 p.m. on those nights, the bar will stop letting anyone under 18 in, McHugh said.

The bar is pet-friendly. McHugh will also host a monthly archery competition, with the winner taking away $1,000 to their charity of choice, McHugh said.

Coliseum V is McHugh’s first bar, and it’s been in the works for two and a half years, he said.

He never expected to open a bar — or a laser tag arena. But he hopes it will build community.

“It’s one thing to talk about it,” McHugh said. “It’s another thing to stand at the top of the double-decker bus with a drink in hand and watching your friends shoot bow and arrows at each other.”

Coliseum V

2801 E. Independence Blvd.
Instagram: @coliseumv

This story originally appeared in The Charlotte Observer.

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