Plaza Bowl Rocks!

duckpin_ball.jpgYesterday, Tasha and I went out with some friends (Matt from CVREG and his wife) to southside Richmond for duckpin bowling. It's a game we first played a few weeks ago visiting Baltimore, where it supposedly originated (or Boston, there's a dispute). While I'm not terribly fond of regular bowling, duckpin bowling is much more enjoyable for Tasha and me: the pins are about half the size, and you use a ball that's probably twice the size of a softball. You also get three bowls instead of two per turn.

It was very fun both times we went, but our trip to Plaza Bowl (521 E. Southside Plaza) last night was especially cool. It's in kind of a ghetto strip mall, and inside you can tell the place is old. This is not due to mere neglect, though: duckpin bowling systems are no longer manufactured, so they all use machinery from the 50s and 60s. We actually talked to the owner who accquired the venue in September, and among the other renovations he's been doing to the place he explained the difficulty of maintaining the duckpin bowling system. Essentially, he has to diagnose and repair the machinery whenever it breaks, and duckpin bowling alleys are always scrambling for spare parts and ways to patch things together on the fly.

180px-duckpins.jpgThat is all to say that we thoroughly enjoyed our night there. It's nice for once using a bowling system that doesn't try to basically play the game for you. We kept our own score, cleared and reset the pins using the manual controls, and generally revelled in the retro coolness of it all. The atmosphere is laid back, with a league bowling on one end and VCU hipster kids on the other. There's fried food and pitchers of PBR. Everything is priced pretty reasonably - I think for four people for two hours and a pitcher of beer we dropped maybe $40. I highly recommend it if you're looking for something to do in the R to the V to the A.

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Written on Thursday, January 24, 2008