Lucky Strike Lanes at Gallery Place with a full-service kitchen, lounge and dance floor is the only public alley available for bowlers in Washington, D.C.
The alley also holds cosmic bowling — glow-in-the-dark bowling, for the uninitiated — every Saturday night and hosts monthly tournaments.
Lucky Strike Lanes
701 Seventh St. NW
Distance From Capitol Hill:2.5 miles
With the closure of George Washington University’s Hippodrome Bowling Alley, Lucky Strike Lanes has become the only public alternative for D.C. bowlers.
Located in the Gallery Place/Chinatown area, Lucky Strike brands itself as an upscale destination where Washington socialites can come to “stay out of the gutter.”
The 14-lane alley opened in November 2005 and is one of 21 bowling venues the company has established around the country. Self-categorized as a “lane and lounge,” the alley is known more for its social events and as a rendezvous spot than as a bowling destination.
“It’s not for your serious bowler,” Marketing Manager Trey Comstock said. “It’s more of a social venue for people to have a shared experience.”
With sleek black couches and red silk lanterns hovering above each lane, the dimly lit alley is a hip fusion for the socially swanky.
The full-service kitchen offers a classic American menu while providing happy hour drink specials from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays.
At the end of a long workweek, those looking to break out their dancing shoes can turn to Lucky Strike’s dance floor and disc jockey Friday and Saturday nights, coupled with Sunday night salsa lessons.
“We are not your typical bowling alley,” General Manager Nelson Greene said. “And we appeal to a broad range of people.”
Politicians such as Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney have been seen frequenting the lanes.
“When [politicians] need a break, they come here to maybe stretch out their legs with family and friends, to get out of the rigor of their government jobs,” Greene said.
The alley has also become home for social leagues that target working professionals and Hill staffers.
Better Off Bowling brings almost 500 D.C. professionals to Lucky Strike Lanes every year. The league was created in 2007 and targets working adults looking to socialize through noncompetitive bowling teams.
“A lot of people just find their social circles start to shrink. This is a great way to meet a huge group of social people where the focus isn’t explicitly on dating or playing sports, but just having fun,” said Chris Mitchell, the league’s general manager.
Geoffrey Okamoto, a staffer for Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), likes the alley’s convenience.
“[Lucky Strike] is pretty close to where we all live,” he said. “It’s a good venue for the league, and it gives us an excuse to have fun.”
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.