Premier Shooting center now serves alcohol on-site at new 1920s-themed speakeasy

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Patrons will not be allowed to shoot after visiting bar, nor will guns be permitted inside, management says

WEST CHESTER TWP. — Premier Shooting and Training Center is preparing for a grand opening of its 1920s-themed speakeasy bar and lounge, the latest addition to an ever-growing list of on-site attractions that the owners hope will make the range a leading destination in West Chester Twp.

Opened in 2016, Premier Shooting at 4845 Premier Way is now a shooting range, martial arts dojo, self-defense training center and gym, equipped with two stocked lakes for private fishing and outdoor spaces for grilling. Owner Tommie Rowland said she hopes to add pickleball courts and an archery range to the site in the next few years, too.

“We consider ourselves more than just a range, obviously,” said Rowland, who operates the West Chester range with her son and granddaughter. “We’re kind of an event venue, so whether you care about firearm sports or martial arts or fishing or any of that, there’s some place for you to come and bring the family and enjoy.”

Rowland said Premier Shooting has always been a family venture, and that fact has shaped her ambitions with her business and influenced what sort of services she’d like to offer.

“There’s a little something for everyone,” Rowland said. “We want everybody that comes in there to feel welcome and feel like, ‘Okay, this isn’t just a place where I go where I shoot up paper for a little bit and then I leave.’”

The speakeasy, dubbed ‘Tommie’s Place,’ will specialize in 1920s-themed mixed drinks and offer an extensive bourbon selection. Rowland said the bar is already being used for events and normal use during select hours, but the speakeasy’s full opening hasn’t been set yet.

“We haven’t done our big grand opening launch yet,” Rowland said. “We want to make sure we do it right. We’re doing a soft opening and talking to the people that come in, [asking] ‘What do you like? What do you not like? How’s this going?’”

ExplorePRIOR REPORTING: Premier Shooting gun range in West Chester Twp. permitted for liquor sales

Premier Shooting received its requisite liquor license from the West Chester Twp. Trustees just over a year ago in a decision that sparked criticism from residents and Journal-News readers, who raised questions regarding the safety of housing a bar and a shooting range under the same roof.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Jim Lentz, the range’s general manager since opening day, told the Journal-News that there are several safety measures in place, including armed security and ID scanners that are necessary to get into both the shooting range and Tommie’s Place.

“You cannot go from the cocktail lounge to the shooting range. You can go from the shooting range to the cocktail lounge, just not the other way around,” Lentz said. “Once you scan your ID to go into the cocktail lounge, you’re unable to go to the shooting range.”

Lentz said firearms and ammunition will not be allowed in Tommie’s Place, and any folks who want to enter the speakeasy after shooting will be directed to lock their guns and ammunition in the trunk of their car prior to entering the bar.

“In a lot of [ways], it’s actually more secure than your average establishment,” Lentz said.

Overall, Lentz said Tommie’s Place marks a change in what Premier Shooting aims to be.

“We’re really changing to Premier Event Center; we’re moving away from just Premier Shooting. We’re attempting to be more inclusive to different people, different parts of society, not just people that are into shooting sports,” Lentz said.

“We keep evolving to where we see a need and when we see things that people want,” Rowland said.

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