Roll Playing Is the Name of the Game at Bowlmor Bethesda

Autographed bowling pins

It’s full of stars: Celebrity-autographed pins on display at a Bowlmor in New York City. (urbanshoregirl via Flickr)

Oh, to be young, pretty and hip … what, you’re not?

Me neither. Join the club.

While most of us aren’t likely to grace the cover of Rolling Stone or sundry society pages anytime soon, we can all act like superstars at Bowlmor Lanes in Bethesda.

What? Bowling? You gotta be kidding, right? Well, kinda sorta not really. The people at Bowlmor Lanes, part of a franchise of upscale bowling alleys, make it their purpose to both repurpose this most blue collar of activities and make you feel like a “Superstar” all at once.

While we can’t promise you a Mary Katherine Gallagher-like foray into the stratosphere of pop-nerd legend, we can almost guarantee that with the right company, a few beers down the hatch and a steady hand, a night of bowling at Bowlmor Lanes in Bethesda will make you a C-list (at least) celebrity for one night.

There are no leagues, so real bowlers may not want to bowl here, but those looking to mingle can treat it like a singles bar, albeit one with 10-pound balls whizzing down lanes.

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Speaking of lanes, there are 34 of them, and they glow in the dark for good measure, each of them abutted with a 12-foot screen playing sporting events. According to the site, there is “a full service restaurant, two luxury sports bars, and a modern arcade.” There is also music playing, in case you get bored.

Bowlmor Lanes
5353 Westbard Ave.
Bethesda, Md. 20816

This franchise has gotten tons of press, and while it’s highly unlikely you’ll run into Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton at the Bethesda location, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of other C-listers who look a lot like you.

All this talk of the singles scene belies the fact that Bowlmor Lanes also hosts birthday parties for kids and other fun types of hootenannies. In fact, none other than BethesdaMagazine.com named it the “Best Place to Hold a Birthday Party” in the Kids category in 2011.

Bowlmor Lanes is open on Monday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., Tuesday-Thursday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday from noon to 2 a.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. After 9 p.m., it’s 21 and up.

Now we get to pricing, which is why the franchise was established in Bethesda instead of, say, Silver Spring. Getting through the pricing particulars is a bit of a labyrinth, depending on not only what day you decide to bowl, but at what hour.

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On Monday (during the day), Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, it will cost you $6.45 to bowl a game. Friday ups the price to $6.75, while Saturday during the day and all day Sunday will set you back $7.95. Saturday nights are reserved for the big spenders, when rolling strikes, gutter balls or 7-10 splits will cost you $8.25 a game.

And those sexy bowling shoes? $5.25 and they’re yours for the night, or as long as you stay on the premises.

The two value nights here are worth a look. On Mondays, you can bowl all night – from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., to be exact – for $18, while on Sunday nights from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., you can take advantage of $4 games and $2 shoe rentals.

The food pricing is about what you’d pay at a T.G.I. Friday’s or Chili’s, or from what I remember anyway. Appetizers start at $6.95, burgers are $9.95 and sandwiches can be had for $8.95.

Domestic beers are $5, imports are $6 and rail drinks can be yours for $5 as well. Cocktails are presumably a little more expensive. Happy Hour (4 p.m.-7 p.m.) prices will help a little with that.

Bowlmor Lanes in Bethesda is certainly walkable from the Friendship Heights Metro station on the system’s Red Line, but most of you will probably want to drive.

So, if you rent an apartment in Bethesda or somewhere else in the metro region, come out, roll a strike and be a part of the “in” crowd. Find your next place by using Apartment Showcase. 

Scott D

Scott D

Scott is a local writer and has been with the Apartment Showcase blog since its inception in 2010.

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