To celebrate a friend’s birthday, a group of about eight people got together to go bowling. When I heard the outlet was at Spare Lanes (500 Pearl) I was excited because I hadn’t had a chance to check out the place since it opened a few years ago.
Upon arriving at 500 Pearl, home to ALoft, W XYZ Bar, Patrick’s Rooftop Bar and Lounge, Re:fuel, Fresh Catch, and V|ice, it took us a few minutes to get our bearings, but eventually found the entrance. winding at the basement bowling alley.
Spare Lanes is impressive. Ellicott Development hit a home run with the concept, for the most part. After ordering a round of drinks, we were told that our two pre-booked lanes (out of 8 total) were waiting for us and that we didn’t need bowling shoes – any shoes would do. It made the check-in process effortless.
When we arrived at the lanes (up to 6 people per lane) all of our names were already displayed on the overhead screens which meant we were bowling within five minutes of entering the venue . God, how times have changed since I last played – no sheets of paper to fill out, no shoes to change…no hassle all around which meant the only thing to do was bowl.
As we settled into our bowling routine, I struck up a conversation with a family of three who were bowling in the nearby lane. Mom told me they had been coming to the building for years, when it was the Buffalo Christian Center. It was interesting to hear his perspective on how everything had changed so much, but they were happy with the new bowling arrangement. I also learned that there is a Sunday Funday for families, where two lanes can be reserved for family celebrations, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., up to 12 bowlers, with a sheet of pizza, unlimited soda, etc If I had kids, I would definitely add this to my list of must do things in Buffalo, especially in the winter, on rainy days, and for birthdays.
For years – almost a decade, in fact – we’ve written about the need for this kind of activity in the heart of downtown. And now we finally have something to be proud of – something that’s as entertaining for students as it is for young families.
There is plenty to do in Spare Lanes. There are flat-screen TVs, bowling-centric artwork, funky tunes (there’s a jukebox with a sound system)… arcade games.
Speaking of arcade games, I haven’t seen anyone interact with them, but that might be different when there are kids running around. While we were hoping the bar would be bigger, so we could enjoy the place before and after bowling, there is are multiple bars in the building so I guess there is really no need for an additional full bar setup, complete with bar stools. On the other hand, Spare Lanes has a great vibe, and we would have stayed longer, as we didn’t fancy going anywhere else once we were done bowling.
I must say that Spare Lanes is much more fun than I expected. The effortless nature of the bowling routine means I will definitely be back, for another birthday party, or perhaps to practice, as my game is very rust. A night out at Spare Lanes is definitely different, this is exactly what we all needed. Wearing outrageous bowling attire, sharing light-hearted laughs over some very interesting bowling techniques, and bonding with friends over a good bowl…I’m happy to say that for the first time since I was a kid, I’m officially a bowling fan again.
Reserve tracks | 500 Pearl, Suite 150 (basement level) | Buffalo, NY 14203 | (716) 382-6084 | [email protected]
Paid parking ramp located on site.
|Wednesday:||4:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.|
|Thusday:||4:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.|
|Friday:||4:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.|
|Saturday:||4:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.|
|Sunday:||12 p.m. – 8 p.m.|
Parking, leagues, beer towers, pizza, kid-friendly, online reservations…