27000 I-45 N
The Woodlands, TX
Last month, a gaudy, neon-lit building that looks like a drive-in diner from the 1950s opened in The Woodlands in a space previously occupied by the late, not-so-lamented AMF Woodlands Lanes.
And sure, we suppose you could also bowl at the new nightclub–like Bowlero, which boasts 40 lanes. But who has time for throwing heavy rocks when you can dine from the full menu, drink alcoholic milkshakes at the bar, or play shuffleboard and cornhole on the outside patio?
Bowlero’s Boogie Nights vibe begins at the door, which is flanked by a 1967 Mustang, and continues at the bar, which serves 1970s malt liquor. The bowling lanes, on the other hand, are as high-tech as they come. Each lane gets its own movie screen at the end of the lane. Patrons can watch TV, play a DVD, or bring a thumb drive to plug in; when I visited, one group of bowlers was watching an episode of Daria. You keep score on a touchscreen monitor, which can also be used to take selfies—a bit of a cheesy touch, if you ask me.
The menu’s signature food item is the “Lava Wings,” flavored with ghost pepper, and they come with a challenge: if you can eat 10 mouth-searing chicken wings in 15 minutes without taking a drink of milkshake, you get a $25 gift card, a t-shirt, and get your photo added to the “Wall of Flame.” Other items in the “Go Crazy” section of the menu include a two-foot-long hot dog and a five-pound “behemoth burger” big enough for 10 people, or so the menu says. It seemed to me that even 10 people would be unable to slay the $50 mega-burger.
Before leaving Bowlero, I watched what looked like a boy and his grandfather take on the Lava Wing challenge. I can report that they polished off two wings before giving up. Maybe next time, guys.