I’m taking a break from the Montréal series this week, because I’ve been dying to post this one!
Where we went, and who was coerced into going:
During our April trip to Florida to visit family, my whole clan spent the evening together at Splitsville, a bowling alley in Tampa, FL. Outside the front door stands the world’s largest bowling pin, towering 30-feet over the courtyard of the Channelside entertainment complex.
Let’s just say things went much smoother than they did the day before while on the world’s longest continuous sidewalk.
WHY did you go there, exactly?
I hardly need to justify my need to see a 30-foot bowling pin, do I? Is there a more compelling symbol of retro Americana? Just the site of it evoked childhood memories of loud, fluorescent-lit alleys; worn, ill-fitting shoes; greasy french fries; and filling in score cards with a nubby pencil. Of course, now a computer does the score-keeping for you, requiring none of that pesky arithmetic.
If I did need to justify the Pin Pilgrimage…why are you doubting my choices?!?!…I would just say that going to Splitsville offered the promise of a great evening with my whole family, including my parents, my brother, sister-in-law, and 12-month old niece (sporting her black “Kiss” T-shirt, no less).
Okay, what was so cool about it?
On the inside, this is not your father’s bowling alley. It’s a hipster space with glam décor, like black leather banquette seating. With only 12 regulation-size lanes, and a few pool tables, there’s a cozy ambiance rather than an echoing cacophony of bowling balls striking pins.
I loved the piped-in soundtrack with tunes from KC and the Sunshine Band, U2, and the Mighty Mighty Boss Tones. I liked every other song that I heard, but didn’t always know the artist. Apparently, there’s an app for “I’m standing in a bowling alley listening to music I can’t identify but need to know the name of the artist right now.” It’s called Shazam, and of course Matt has it on his Droid. Now I know that the name of The Clash tune I like is “Train in Vain.”
There’s something for everyone on the varied menu, including sushi and a full bar. They serve 64 oz. “Big Bowl” drinks, which must lead to some interesting scores. Your meal is served lane-side, so you can continue your strike streak uninterrupted.
Oh, and I learned that my parents were in an amateur bowling league on Long Island back in the 70’s. Wha??? Dad still has a pretty decent bowling game, even without the sideburns!
High score of the evening belonged to The Boy: 107. The lowest? Me, with 61. (I was distracted by the great music.) So we’re not bowlers. Moving on.
How it rated on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = snoozefest, 10 = add to your bucket list):
Again, I reiterate, a 30-foot bowling pin! Glorious. It rates a solid 8 when supplemented by a fun evening of family bowling.
p.s. Matt says “the food was pretty good.”
Hey YOU! Go BIG:
Splitsville Luxury Lanes and Dinner Lounge, 615 Channelside Drive, Suite 120, Tampa, FL. 813-514-BOWL
Disclaimer: Parts of our trip to Tampa were organized with assistance from the Tampa Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau. Splitsville hosted our game. We paid for our own meal.