Lucky Strike FTW Chicago
322 E Illinois St
Chicago, IL 60616
Lucky Strike FTW (For the Win) arcade is a bowling alley and arcade located in downtown Chicago. With 130 games that give prizes every time, a mini golf course, pool tables, and bowling, it has something for everyone. Featuring fresh made food developed by an in-house chef, private suites overlooking the Chicago skyline, and a variety of party options, it’s a great experience.
In charge of all of this is Sean Davis, the Director of Operations at Lucky Strike FTW. Mr. Davis has meddled in all areas of the entertainment business throughout his career, including working as a cook, waiter, bartender, manager, and general manager. He first discovered that he loved working in the entertainment industry when working as a local Massachusetts pizza maker, whose venue housed several bar games like billiards and its own mini golf course. He studied business at Northeastern University, and went on to work at Jillian’s arcade around 1993 in Boston, which featured 52 pool tables, 200 games, and 70,000 square feet of restaurant space. Then, in 2011 he started working at FTW in Chicago.
As Director of Operations, Mr. Davis checks on things like making sure the arcade is staffed, ensuring each department has what they need, ordering, scheduling, and generally makes sure that everything in his arcade runs smoothly from day to day. However, as he’ll tell you, “There’s always something going on, there’s always a catastrophe... It’s never ‘Hey everything’s great,’” citing a time when a nearby pipe burst and caused the entire floor to flood, as one extreme case.
Mr. Davis plays the games in his arcade as often as possible (his favorite game being Silent Scope), and loves watching other people enjoy themselves. He has said that some of his best days at work are when they bring in groups of less fortunate or handicapped children and let them play and have fun to their heart’s desire.
Davis says that FTW is really a place for everyone. The arcade uses large cabinets and displays so that even adults can feel like a kid again when standing in front of the big games, part of the appeal to going to the arcade.
“We serve great food, great beer. It really is like the total package. And it’s geared more towards adults than it is kids, because we do have a lot of adults saying, ‘Hey we’re going to bring our kids here,’ and they have their birthday parties here and kids love it. Typically the bigger arcades are more designed for kids and they have to bring their parents, and so we said well why don’t we make it for the parents, and they have to bring their kids. It seems to be working out.”
Interview with Sean Davis completed by Ricky Nguyen and Jeremy Chionglo on November 3rd, 2016. Photographs by Jeremy Chionglo. Transcription by Khashkhuu Otgontulga, Eric Brekke, and Christopher Castellanos. The full archive of the interview, including the complete audio file, full transcription, and additional photographs, is available through the Illinois Tech Institutional Repository.