from Ice Age to New Age

Laser light shows, music of the day playing over a surround sound speaker system that rivals the best night clubs, with top shelf and unique drinks in the ultra modern bar/lounge .A full featured bar with not just bartenders but “ Mixologists” that can make most any drink you desire. Not your Grandads bowling center. Is this the future of bowling where bowling is only an afterthought? No, of course not.  We mostly all agree that bowling has to come into the 21st century and appeal to the younger crowds, and this new and hip style helps people remember the fun of bowling in general. Not to replace the days of a family style bowling center, lavish new and ultra-hip decorations with local artists, disco style cosmic lighting and music by the artists of the day, will only help peek and revitalize the want to go have fun at a full bowling center with friends and family. Remember that most alleys have cosmic bowling night, up graded snack bars and bars too. No more snack bar style food here though, they have trained Chef’s that put out menus that feature grilled fish tacos, Sushi, Prime Rib Sliders, crispy lobster sliders and even one has a lobster club sandwich. It is safe to say the years of horrible snack bar food served on a paper To-Go container is gone? Maybe. Mission Bowling Club has a mezzanine style dining area and a wonderful menu of comfort foods and spectacular drinks.Bowling itself, at these establishments has been transformed into a night of luxury, with a price to match, private lanes for rent, some as high as $600 an hour. Rooms decorated with colorful artworks , lighting to set the mood and colors galore, a far cry from the old bowling centers that still have art deco pins on the back walls. One of the centers, Mission Bowling Club in San Francisco, even has age limited hours for those under 21. Monday through Friday is 21 and up only and family hours are only on weekends until 7pm . Bowling at some other establishments can get a little pricey with hourly rates starting at $35. Most have walk-ins but a few require that you make reservations in advance. Mission Bowling Club does have plans to start leagues in the summer but centers like Lucky Strikes is strictly a nightclub/party zone.

There are quite a few of these Mega -Party, multi use bowling centers popping up everywhere. Lucky Strike in California, Arizona, Chicago, New York and other locations across the country, Splitsville is another bowling center that comes up on an internet search. Splitsville has a few centers in Texas, Florida and Virginia as well. All very interesting ideas and business concepts.

If  bowling itself is to survive it has to embrace these changes and that they are inevitable and are needed if the sport as a whole is to survive. Just a fresh coat of paint won’t do but a new and innovative approach to an old concept is the key. Besides in my opinion it looks like fun and I don’t know about you but I am tired of the cardboard style pizza with the mostly meat toppings, served either cold or so old it has the texture of shoe leather. Lest we forget, their will always be the large bowling centers with a beer, cold pizza and a great time. This new concept can only help solidify the bowling and bringing more people back to the larger houses. So put on a happy face, greet everyone with a smile and be thankful that bowling has new venue for fun and excitement.