An opening in the rock face slides open, and the warriors pour into the bizarre archaeological site. Rough-hewn blocks, cool to the touch, form close tunnels that let fast breaths echo. Light trickles in through a hole in the ceiling, as though something else had gotten here first. Suddenly, the warriors scatter, and adrenaline-tinged shouts drift up through the constant fire of up to 60 laser guns as the explorers tear through the 20,000-square-foot, newly expanded space. As they sprint past shrouded aliens and desiccated palm trees, their suits transmit stats to the outside world, where real-time scoreboards track their prowess and battle-cry harmonies, and plasma monitors display shootouts taking place in the fog-filled arena.
When Ross Amin first walked into the nearly empty Capitol Bowl in 1999, he couldn't even tell if it was open. "It looked like it hadn't gotten any attention for a long time," he says. Still, he saw something in the space and decided to take over, launching a series of renovations, which were recently completed in late 2011.
Today, the modernized alley features lofty ceilings and a gauntlet of 20 overhauled lanes that keep score with Brunswick systems that were last upgraded in April 2012. Like a catcher's facemask or a pitcher's facial hair, bumpers (available upon request) can protect players against wayward balls. In between frames, the weary rest up by playing 1 of 15 video games in the arcade. Ross is most excited by Capitol Bowl’s updated café, which eschews traditional snack bar offerings in favor of chef-created entrees, which are made from scratch using fresh ingredients. Ross's favorite, the pastrami sandwich, is served hot with meat that’s smoked in house and spicy mustard. Some nights live music fills the bar, and flat-screen televisions air sports games and glow bowling gives the alley a neon aura.
Inside Strikes Unlimited's cavernous entertainment complex, players send bowling balls hurtling down 50 gleaming lanes. Whether they're competing in a league or just enjoying the night with friends, bowlers can watch exciting plays on the center's bounty of flat-screen TVs and massive projection screens equipped with a cutting-edge sound system. Three nights a week, the lights dim, the black lights glimmer, and a DJ starts pumping beats for Glow Bowl, an event that blends the challenge of bowling with the excitement of the club.
Just around the corner from the crack of bowling pins, Halftime Bar and Grill fuels bowling and arcade games with juicy burgers made from certified Hereford-beef patties and frosty draft beers. Eight flat-screen TVs broadcast the big game, and pool tables offer a diversion from the bowling lanes. The dance floor pulses on Friday and Saturday nights, as live music ushers in a late-night menu. Trivia night and acoustic music are among other weekly attractions.