The next generation of professional bowlers could very well be lacing up their small, adorable shoes at Sandcastle Bowl Bar & Grill. The alley hosts a youth league for bowlers as young as five, which is the earliest age Santa accepts requests for bowling gloves. Luckily, strikes and spares don't end once players reach adulthood. Adult leagues let grownups compete across the alley's 20 lanes, which accommodate both five- and tenpin bowling.
While competitive, Sandcastle Bowl Bar & Grill's leagues are primarily social gatherings, with plenty of opportunities to make new friends (bowlers can join teams or sign up as individuals). This spirit of friendly sportsmanship also extends to casual events. The alley hosts after-school bowling on weekdays, and on Saturdays, the staff cranks up music and turns on special effects lighting during an all-you-can-bowl party called Strike FX.
Visits often spill over into the onsite restaurant, Zachary's Grill. The menu puts standard snack bar food to shame with dozens of options such as handmade burgers and shareable baskets of dry ribs.
Dell Lanes hosts friendly competition among players throughout the week with regular bowling hours or laser bowling sessions on its collection of classic five-pin lanes furnished with plush couches and automatic scoring. The alley dims its lights and dusts off its futuristic hues for laser bowling each Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. At the on-site bar and lounge, the kitchen staff fires up a full menu of traditional pub fare including house-made pizza, burgers, and beef sandwiches. Dell Lanes also hosts leagues for children, adults, and seniors, allowing the entire family to hone its skills for settling the neighbourly feud with the sparrows in the backyard birdhouse.
Twelve lanes of polished wood stretch from players to pins at Viking Bowl & Restaurant. Bowlers can pick the perfect ball from the long racks of weighted spheres, and they can blast as many pins as possible while automatic scoring screens keep tabs for them. Competitive play flourishes at the billiards tables, too. A click-clacking sounds as pool shooters sink a corner shot or hula-hoop with the triangular rack. Patrons can also hunker down in the full-service restaurant and feast on pizza, burgers, and hot wings before heading out for another 10 frames.
Deemed one of the top places to hold a birthday party by readers of the Richmond News, The Zone Bowling Centre and its gleaming lanes host several leagues and themed parties at each of two locations. For an added element of mystique, cosmic bowling takes place on Fridays, featuring dimmed lights, atmospheric music, and bowling balls that form various constellations at will.
It’s a Friday night at Xcalibur Bowling, and the lights have gone out. As a vibrant glow overtakes the space, with balls and pins blushing in the dark and laser lights dancing across the centre’s 36 lanes, it becomes clear: tonight is Xtreme Bowling. A DJ begins to spin chart-topping hits of yesterday and today—from Nicki Minaj to John Philip Sousa—and, as if on cue, the glowing orbs fly from bowlers’ hands and crash against their targets. The glow-in-the-dark party is a regular occurrence at Xcalibur, taking place every Friday and Saturday night. Yet, the rest of the week is no snooze fest: “Old Skool” music blasts from the speakers on Sundays, and a video arcade waits for antsy hands every single day.
The centre's The Edge Sports Bar tempts bowlers with LCD TVs, draft beers, and a pool table and dartboards. After a few frames, underage gamers can retreat to The Grill Restaurant to quell postgame hunger with salads, pizzas, burgers, and sandwiches.