Boutique bowling alleys are on the ball around Phoenix.
Day-Glo orange nachos and salty French fries, stinky shoes and fluorescent lighting may come to mind when one thinks, “bowling alley,” but lucky for us, boutique bowling alleys have been popping up across the Valley over the last few years – a trend that has been surging since 2001, when open-play bowling outgrew league bowling, according to Michael Auger, managing partner for Trifecta Management Group (which owns Uptown Alley in Surprise), and national brands like Lucky Strike began appearing. A boutique bowling alley is smaller than its typical 40-laned counterpart, enabling a more personable staff, but comes complete with a full kitchen and bar menu, table service and comfortable lounge furniture near the lanes instead of hard plastic chairs. Bowl a strike (remember: that’s good in bowling) with these local boutique lanes.
Lake View Lanes
Located in Sun City, this bowling alley is available to Recreation Centers of Sun City cardholders and adults over the age of 55. “The sport is enjoyed by many who find that participating in such team sports [is] beneficial not only physically, but that the time spent in a social setting with other bowlers keeps them mentally active as well,” says Randy Johnson, director of bowling for Recreation Centers of Sun City. There are 33 leagues registered at the alley and the total number of perfect games bowled at Lake View Lanes to date is 205. Non-residents and non-cardholders 19 years and older may bowl in the league.
10502 W. Thunderbird Blvd., Sun City, 623-876-3055, sunaz.com/bowling/lakeview-lanes/
Managing partner Michael Auger says entertainment is the biggest difference between Uptown Alley and other lanes. The party venue has three bars and a restaurant (“A big part of why people visit,” Auger says), state-of-the art scoring systems, 15-foot HDTVs above the lanes, an ultra lounge, an arcade, a two-story laser tag park, a sports theater and billiards.
13525 N. Litchfield Rd., Surprise, 623-975-7529, uptownalleysurprise.com
Let it Roll
The former Sunset Bowl in Sunnyslope got a facelift and a new name. Now known as Let It Roll, the alley hosts “cosmic bowling” on Friday and Saturday nights, when the lanes are illuminated in black lights and neon, and former Phoenix Suns player Cedric Ceballos serves as DJ. Let It Roll also recently introduced “Digital Dining,” which lets bowlers order food from the touchscreens in their lanes.
8925 N. 12th St., Phoenix, 602-944-4401, letitrollbowl.com
An AMF Lanes-owned boutique bowling alley, Bowlmor opened last December on the outskirts of Old Town Scottsdale, a seamless supplement to the area’s popular nightlife scene. The video projections that line the walls of the venue and the LED lighting and loud music (from a live DJ some nights) create a dance-party atmosphere. The food menu features appetizers, pizza, burgers and signature cocktails. There are also private lounges and a four-lane semi-private bowling suite.
7300 E. Thomas Rd., Scottsdale, 480-946-5308, bowlmor.com