In October of 2016, upscale bowling brand Bowlero purchased Jupiter Lanes. The old alley had seen better days. Bowlero District Manager Kraig Needler recalls “one of those dilapidated kind of buildings, with old carpets and hard plastic chairs. We spent the last year and half upgrading the tables, the seating. That carpet is now a linoleum hardware floor. We added a nice game room and a full liquor bar. They didn’t even serve draft beer when we bought the building. It’s a 180-degree difference.”
Curious bowlers can judge for themselves, at no cost, this Saturday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., when Bowlero Jupiter presents its grand opening celebration. PGA Tour champion Keegan Bradley will exchange golf cleats for bowling shoes when he hosts the event, signing autographs for fans and, for special raffle winners, bowling alongside them.
“Bradley is a family-oriented person from Jupiter—he embodies the vision of the type of guest we have in this building,” Needler says.
Attendees at Saturday’s opening can partake in free bowling and video game play at the 34-game arcade, which includes popular redemption games as well as billiards, cornhole and beer pong. The Jupiter location is the first Palm Beach County Bowlero, joining some 50 other franchises nationwide, mostly clustered around the Northeast and California. (Other Florida Bowleros are in Davie and Miami.)
Bowlero’s rise coincides with the general upscaling of bowling centers. Like Frank Theaters and CineBowl in Delray or Revolutions Bowl in West Palm Beach, it fosters a nightclub-like atmosphere, a far cry from the smoke-stained, color-drained mom-and-pop alleys of the popular imagination. Bowlero Jupiter features 60 blacklight lanes and a video wall running across the lanes that can project music videos or sporting events.
The bowling center’s menu is heavy on shareables, from 100-ounce cocktails like the Dunk Tank and Mega Mule to the two-foot-long Coney Island-style hot dog and the gigantic, “XXL” pretzel. During events, the venue offers baked zitis and fajita buffets and pulled pork sandwiches, Needler says. In the classic bowling alley tradition, it’s best to leave the diet at home: health food it isn’t.
As for the continued popularity of bowling in general, Needler says, “I think it’s a consistent thing. It’s affordable, and everybody can do it. It’s not like you can take grandma out to the hockey rink and put goalie pads on her. It’s family-oriented, it’s about team building, and nobody sits on the bench.”
The grand opening celebration is free from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Bowler, 350 Maplewood Road, Jupiter. For information, call 561/743-9200. RSVP at bowlero.com/events/jupiter-grand-opening.