Arnetta Yardbourgh was sitting on a couch in the lounge at the new Lucky Strike Lanes during Thursday's Grand Opening party, eating barbecue chicken bites and pepperoni pizza, trying to talk to her friends over the mind-numbing techno beats blasting through the speakers.
"The atmosphere is great here," Yardbourgh said, adding that she hadn't checked out the bowling lanes, Lucky Strike's main attraction. That was no big deal, she said, because she was having a great time enjoying the drinks and food. "I'd definitely come back just to hang out."
After talking to Yardbourgh, each time we tried a different food off plates being carried by servers throughout the party, or each time we got a fresh drink, we wondered, "If the best part of a bowling alley is the food and booze, does the bowling alley suck?"
It might not be fair to call Lucky Strike Lanes a true bowling alley, though. The place could match up with the clubiest of clubs, featuring a large bar, lounge and restaurant. There's bottle service and a dress code. And there just happens to be a few bowling lanes also. The VIP area felt like an art gallery that had four neon-lit bowling lanes ironically stuck in the corner.
So if you want a night of bowling, don't go to Lucky Strike, but if you want a "boutique bowling" experience, it's the place to go. And probably be seen.
But the food is the best part.
We tried some mini burgers made with turkey and tuna, chicken bites glazed in barbecue sauce, coconut shrimp, a couple pieces of pizza, and -- perhaps the best of all -- fried macaroni and cheese. These are all featured on Lucky Strike's day-to-day menu.
When we talked to Jessica Massey and Erika Wilson, in between a game of pool, they were eating the mini tuna burgers that are "encrusted in cracked pepper; topped with wasabi aioli and cucumbers," according to the menu. Massey's favorite food of the night -- we didn't try these -- were the Tomato and Cheese S'mores, filled with roasted tomatoes, basil leaves and melted mozzarella.
"It's better than bar food," Massey said. "Come on, look at this, it took a lot of work."