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The Bayshore-aissance continues as bowling and movies are back

A wide shot of a darkened movie theater with heated leather recliners.

For Southeastern Wisconsinites of a certain age — me, for one — the iPic Entertainment Extravaganza (not its real name) at Bayshore was an important, less alcohol-driven option when you wanted to do … something.

Maybe you wanted to bowl. Or see a movie. Or eat barbecue. Or sit at a bar and watch the game. At iPic, you could do it all. It was the Dream Café of Whitefish Bay.

And, like Seinfeld’s Dream Café, it closed.

That was in 2018, a time when many storefronts at Bayshore suffered similar fates — American Eagle, Shaw’s Jewelers, Fossil, most of the restaurants and so on and so on. Even before the pandemic exacerbated things, Bayshore Town Center had more than 30 vacancies. A Northridge-type situation seemed unlikely. Still, it was hard not to imagine the worst.

But recent years have seen a bounceback. O.G.’s like Bed Bath & Beyond and Barnes & Noble stuck it out, and new neighbors have moved in. Total Wine & More arrived in September 2020, with a bourbon section that occupies no less than 45 minutes of my life every single time I walk in. A two-story Target opened in 2021. Culver's started serving this past March. Even Board Game Barrister is back!!!

Now, the movie-and-bowling experience has returned from the grave thanks to ACX Cinemas, which has four locations — three in Nebraska (it’s based in Omaha) and one in Iowa. The plan is to have number five up and running next summer, with a familiar lineup of entertainment options (check out the gallery below to get an idea of how things look at ACX's other locations):

  • Six movie theaters with heated recliners
  • Bowling and other gaming options
  • Backlot Pizza + Kitchen, which has a full menu but specializes in Detroit-style pizza
  • A full-service bar that, presumably, will have televisions with sports on them

The dream lives again.