Is Bowling Really That Popular in Las Vegas?

Bowling lanes and the entrance to Brooklyn Bowl.  | Photo by Anthony Mair

Bowling lanes and the entrance to Brooklyn Bowl. | Photo by Anthony Mair

Seems like the entire world is doing business on Twitter these days, so I recently turned to the social media titan to solicit questions. Here are two I received:

@KandiTam2001 asks: Is bowling really that popular in Las Vegas?

It certainly seems that way. As is the case in the rest of the country, most freestanding Southern Nevada bowling centers have disappeared (RIP West Hill Lanes; long live Boulder Bowl!). But at least ours were replaced by lanes in many of our so-called “locals casinos.” (Of note: the original Arizona Charlie’s was built to incorporate the existing Charleston Heights bowling alley. Charlie’s eventually closed the lanes in 1992.) And thanks to the casino subsidy, not only is bowling in Las Vegas cheaper than in most other cities, it’s also (ironically) shed its shady stigma to emerge as family-friendly fun in a city starved for it. Gone are the smoky lanes and scantily clad cocktail waitresses; now it’s cosmic bowling and “Kids bowl free!”

Add to that the fact that Vegas is a competitive city whose future rests on beating other cities at their own game (see the aggressive way in which we retained the National Finals Rodeo last year after it considered riding off to Orlando). Hence the new $35 million, 60-lane South Point Bowling Plaza. Separate from the casino’s public lanes, the center is set up specifically for pro competition, with 360 spectator stadium seats and two 167-foot digital displays. Combined with Reno’s National Bowling Stadium, South Point’s facility will help make Nevada the country’s bowling capital. You’d better get practicing on picking up your splits.

@mrbluelouboyle asks: What is the best sports bar off the Strip?

Depends on what you want, though I think we all want cheap booze, decent food and great TVs. There are plenty of joints that turn extra special for fans on game days because of their affiliation with specific teams. That explains why, for instance, Green Bay Packers fans flock to Big Dog’s Draft House, a home away from home for Wisconsin folk. And why my favorite is Born and Raised, perhaps the city’s only UNLV-specific sports bar. A close second for me is the Crown & Anchor British pub near the university; at least there I don’t get mocked for liking soccer.

Want to bet the farm without fighting Strip crowds? Download one of the popular mobile betting apps from a place like William Hill or Station Casinos and fund your account. Then, hit up your favorite bar, where you can eat, drink, socialize, play video poker and place sports bets—all without ever leaving your own neighborhood. Talk about vice convenience!