Please Let This Scuttlebutt Be True: Bowling Alley Coming to Shaw?

by Prince Of Petworth March 23, 2012 at 10:30 am 27 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Madame Meow

This is the best scuttlebutt I’ve heard since we learned Trader Joe’s was coming to U Street. Though, I’d only give this one a 25% chance of happening but what the hell, it’s Friday and it is too sweet not to share – I hear a bowling alley is looking for a space to open up in Shaw. This could finally begin to fill the void we’ve felt since we lost the Arcade way back in the day. But I’m having a tough time visualizing where this could happen. Can you guys think of any space big enough to hold a bowling alley in Shaw?

  • Chris in Eckington

    Progression Place? Wonderbread Factory? O Street Market?

    • rm

      Wonderbread. I think the latest news I heard about it was that the owners wanted to put a stairwell smack in the center of the space (or something along those lines) which would hamper the ability to put lanes in.

      The individual was going to talk to them to see if that detail could be changed.

  • This is great news! I can only hope it’s an old school alley (you know, the kind that serves nachos at concessions and Bud at the bar) and not a Lucky Strike clone. I would definitely visit it on a weekly basis if that were the case, but this is DC.

    • Andy

      Agreed, as long as it’s not something overpriced and trashy (in a bad way) like Lucky Strike. That place shouldn’t exist. Something like the Fort Myer Army base bowling alley in Arlington would be PERFECT!

      • @Andy – what about something like Garage on Capitol Hill in Seattle? That would be awesome. Cooler still would be bowling pin shapped Buds.

        @Chris in Eckington – the latest plans (see leftforledroit.com) for Wonderbread look like office lofts and perhaps (fingers crossed) a microbrewery.

    • Anonymous

      Sadly, I think the reality is that a place like that could never be profitable in present-day DC. They could never afford the rent selling cheap nachos and pitchers of Bud Light. There are bowling alleys just like you’re thinking about scattered throughout the suburbs, though.

  • How about in any of those piece of shit buildings on GA ave south of the McDonalds and across from Howard?

    • another guy named chris

      such eloquence!


  • ShawShank

    I agree – this would be unreal if it were something along the lines of Ft. Meyer and a polar opposite of Lucky Strike. Along with having a roller-skating rink somewhere in DC, this is one of the huge voids that could be a big hit if executed/located properly.

    • saf

      Once upon a time, the Citadel, now the Harris Teeter in Adams Morgan, was a roller rink.

      • anon

        The Citadel Center was fucking awesome; they booked some great shows back there in the 80s/early 90s. It filled the in-between-sized venue slot for bands before the 9:30 moved to their current space.

        • saf

          Yeah – Tin Machine!

  • Anonymous

    You know what else is awesome? Duck pin bowling. There’s one out in Montgomery County in a strip mall. I’d rather a traditional bowling alley, but I think duck pin might be a somewhat smaller footprint. Could be wrong.

    • Yes!

      I am no bowling alley architect, but it makes sense that duckpin would take up less space. If you’ve ever been to Stoneleigh or Patterson Lanes in Baltimore, you’ve seen how (relatively) small those spaces are… and how much fun old-school duckpin bowling is!

  • Oh, hell yes. This would do huge business. But I wonder if the costs of build-out in this area would be prohibitive for anything besides a Lucky Strike type model. I think making it kind of like an old-school, simple, retro-feel 1970’s type bowling alley might do the trick. Keep it cheap, attract people who love bowling as well as hipsters looking for a Big Lewboski type of feeling, maybe that is a viable economic plan. IN all events, I hope they do it, and if they do, PLEASE full-sized lanes and not some sort of candlepin bowling.

    • Why on earth would you want to *attract* hipsters?

      • Anonymous


  • Scott

    Is the industrial space next to Longview Gallery large enough? They just opened it up and it has new windows on the front. You can see inside now and it’s large and raw space for the moment. Not sure what’s going in it yet.

  • bb

    The Lincoln Theater. ‘Cuz nobody else is using it…

  • Anonymous

    This is what they should put in the old J.F. Cook School!

  • 57N (Brass Knob)

  • MB

    Whatever happened to the idea of Trader Joe’s in U Street area? Is that still on?

    • Prince Of Petworth

      It’s still coming:


      It’ll be in the new JBG building on 14th.

      • Anonymous

        I asked a check-out lady at the Foggy Bottom TJ’s about the rumor around a month ago. She said that she’s heard they’re scouting out places but that it won’t be at 14th and U. Then again she was just a check-out person so she might not really know what’s going on when it comes to that sort of stuff…Someone should ask a manager there. Maybe they’re keeping it on the DL on purpose.

  • Great news if the place is NOTHING like Lucky Strike.

  • Anonymous

    What’s next? A movie theater?


    Not in Shaw, but the View 14 at 14th and Florida has a huge vacant space inside. Might be perfect. Agree – as long as it is nothing like Lucky Strike, it would be great.


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