When Joseph Olear tore down the original Three Point Bowling Center, he preserved what mattered most. ”We recycled the 35-year-old maple lanes and made a bar out of it,” he happily explains. “And also this gorgeous desk in my office.” The former alley was bought out by Joe’s father in ’86—a spontaneous decision that still perplexes the son. He “just bought the place! If you’d have told me we’d have a bowling alley, I’d have thought you were crazy.” That said, it’s a decision that gave Joe the reins to a facility he would totally revamp.
The updated alley features 16 automatic lanes, one of the largest bars in Kansas City, and a large crop of vine-ripened bowling balls. Olear has also solicited the master food stylings of chef Dan Cermeno for juicy burgers, steak-filled sandwiches, and spicy seafood pastas. He explains that Cermeno’s dishes—available at the alley or in Three Pins Diner—are by no means typical alley fare. “He’s a shopping king,” says Olear. ”On his way in, he stops to shop. [Always] fresh fruit and veggies—wherever the freshest stuff is.”
Beyond the lanes, Three Point entertains patrons with six full-size pool tables, dartboards, indoor and outdoor TVs up to 64 inches wide, as well as nightly league events. The revelry also extends outdoors, where an expansive outdoor deck patio hosts a meat smoker capable of feeding parties of up to 500. “There’s a guy comes in at first light and smokes the meat, “says Olear. “Venison, ribs, whatever he has. It’s in there for about 10 hours. It’s unmatched, really.” Wonderful as that is, there’s one thing Joe enjoys more. “Having a drink at the bar,” he says, smiling. “People will say they met their wife here. It happens on a fairly regular basis—someone comes in and says how nice the place is. It really makes your day.”
At World Bowling Center, slick spheres fly down 32 glistening wood lanes to obliterate perfectly placed pearly white pins. Use the touch-screen Brunswick Vector lower monitors to scrutinize scoring, or watch the upper monitors as they illustrate your fifth-straight gutter ball with high-tech graphics. The center's cosmic lighting system will bathe bowlers in a supernatural glow not unlike light dancing on thousands of sequins at a Liberace impersonator convention. Spend a good chunk of your day or night at World Bowling Center taunting friends and taking out frustrations on a group of hapless pinheads. Unlike other competitive sports, such as dogsled racing and rap battling, bowling has zero barriers to entry and a shallow learning curve.
Aloma Bowling Centers promotes friendly competition and pin-scattering fun with three locations that encompass at least 32 lanes apiece. The largest of the three strike-and-spare hotbeds, Boardwalk Bowl Entertainment Center, sports 80 lanes inside a massive facility that hosts more than 100 arcade games, a mini golf course, and a comedy club that features up-and-coming comedians. At all three locations, guests can salute closed frames and lament gutter balls over a dish from the onsite grill or a beverage from the full-service bar.
Since 1960, Orange Bowl Lanes has facilitated friendly competition on 12 lanes, which cradle the throws of bowlers during open hours seven days a week and the more gutter-hugging curveballs pitched by league bowlers at night. Open until midnight on Monday and Wednesday, Orange Bowl Lanes keeps its doors ajar until 2 a.m. the rest of the week, providing night owls with something to do instead of counting the rhinestones on Orion’s Belt.
Carter Family Bowl & Pizzeria keeps bowlers' eyes and ears entertained with vibrant music and disco lights while their hands are busy knocking down pin after pin. Automatic scoring keeps track of the action on each of 20 lanes, and bumpers aid younger bowlers as they step up to the lane's home plate to punt for a goal. An onsite pro shop keeps customers in top form by souping up personal equipment with cleaning and drilling services. And at the pizzeria, a full menu of pies, appetizers, and desserts prevents bowlers' growling stomachs from being mistaken for lost, beloved schnauzers.