If horse racing is the sport of kings, bowling is the sport of the drinking class. The alleys are their palaces—the polished hardwood, the clatter of the pins, the blue haze of cigarette smoke (or its telltale stains on the ceiling), and the pitchers of yellow-gold beer adorning the tables. No roses, no mint juleps, no horseshit.
In other pro sports, athletes are becoming more and more freakish—Calvin Johnson and LeBron James are not of this planet—but professional bowlers still look like regular people. And it’s possible that the guy with the ample beer gut three lanes over could even beat one of the pros on the right kind of day; bowling is the rare sport in which any person can reach perfection.
But its widespread popularity has more to do with the fact that it’s a cheap way for anyone to have a night out, partake in friendly competition, and tip back a couple cocktails in the process. Columbus is home to plenty of traditional bowling alleys, but the list has swelled to include some unexpected names as well. The Athletic Club of Columbus opened an eight-lane alley called The Booth, and The Bosco Center now offers Brunch and Bowl for $20—including your choice of a Bloody Mary, mimosa, or beer. At the beginning of February, Woodland’s Backyard in Grandview opened a casual bowler’s paradise—a set of four mini lanes just steps from the full bar. It’s perfect for those who consider bowling and beer to be equally important.
To celebrate the growth of this booze-sport, we created a brief quiz about the definitive bowling movie, The Big Lebowski. It will tell you which character you are, and therefore how much you love bowling.