Posted by: classyjacksonville | June 23, 2008

Jacksonville Bowl Arena

Classy Jacksonville\'s Premiere Bowling DestinationBowling is one of those quintessential things that make this country great, besides light beer and super Wal-Mart, and most bowling alleys, no matter where you go in America, are normally in a run down strip mall and filled with a plethora of upstanding citizens. You would think that bowling in Jacksonville would be approximately like bowling in any other town in America. But there are certain things that set the Jacksonville bowling experience apart from bowling in other places, and these differences help make bowling and especially Jacksonville, classy.


The Jacksonville Bowling Arena is located on Western Boulevard behind two barbershops and a Jiffy Lube. Before even entering the bowling alley, you are greeted by a friendly, flashing pink neon sign, letting you know where you can bowl because sometimes it can be confusing where you can play your recreational game of choice. Upon entering the building, the first thing you notice is the dimmed fluorescent lighting which is a nice touch because it makes the alley inviting and provides almost chiaroscuro shading on the neon green and pink bowling designs hung above the lanes. Displayed neatly and tidily underneath glass cases are various bowling accessories for those who desire to take their game to the next level. The owner, Glen, is behind the counter and looks hip in his circa 1990 faded bleach stained polo shirt. He has quite the formidable moustache and he has slicked his swarthy black hair back. In order to rent a pair of shoes, you must give Glen two dollars and one of your shoes as collateral. He will then assign you to a lane and you can pick out one of the heavily dented and scratched balls that add to the gritty realness the “Bowl Arena” brings to the Jacksonville nightlife.


The bowling itself was fairly straight forward. No flashy “cosmic” bowling here, only bowling in its purest most unadulterated form. There were young nervous kids out on their first date, middle aged men polishing their balls and putting their wrist straps on straight while sipping beer out of clear plastic cups. About halfway through our first game, I felt the need for some refreshment I went up and got a pitcher of miller light from the bar. The bar’s décor had a classy retro appeal, the lamps hanging over the pool tables used Budweiser and Miller symbols and style straight out of the 70’s. The handles on the beer taps were shaped like bowling pins which you would think to be a very kitzsch touch but it went along with the bowling theme predominant throughout the alley.


After getting my pitcher of beer and bringing back to our lane, I went up and ordered a croque-monsieur with pommes-frites (what was referred to here as a grilled ham and cheese with fries), and after waiting for several minutes my sandwich was delivered to me on a very greasy Styrofoam plate. The sandwich was delicious and well prepared and the even greasier fries went well with the pasteurized processed American cheese that oozed out between the two grilled slices of white bread.


The game was pretty fun, and as to be expected, I bowled poorly.  Our group of friends then decided it was time to leave and settle our bill and retrieve our other shoe. Glen, the owner told us that altogether we owed $130 and he refused to divide up the bill and tell us each individually what we owed him. He told us this was how he handled big groups on Friday night and he didn’t have the time to deal with us and to have one of us collect all the money and then pay him the total amount. He tossed us a calculator and when one in our party protested and insisted on paying only for the games he had bowled. Glen told my friend to be quiet or he would be asked to leave. My friend said that he was only trying to settle the bill and pay for the games he had bowled and didn’t see what the problem was. Glen told him to leave and if he didn’t like it he would call his staff non commissioned officer and get my friend in trouble. My friend told him he wasn’t in the marines and all he was trying to do was to pay for games he had bowled. Glen chuckled when my friend suggested he wasn’t a marine and told him to leave again. My friend walked out and the rest of us settled the bill.


The verdict on the Jacksonville Bowl Arena is that it meets all the criteria for being part of classy Jacksonville and that it is a classy establishment, adding to the community in a positive manner and a good way to while away the hours.




  1. Bowlarena is about as classy as a cockroach infestation at your favorite resturaunt… The whole establishment is a dirty disgusting joke. Glen is a asshole and will never get anymore of my money….. It’s a hassle, but your better off bowling on base or going to Cape Carteret to Mac Daddy’s.

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