This past weekend my friends and I celebrated my boyfriend's birthday by going duckpin bowling at the Patterson Bowling Center on Eastern Avenue. Not only do I prefer duckpins (read: I can actually get strikes), but Patterson is BYOB and, in this economy, that is a godsend. Now we didn't reserve a private party upstairs, but those are great. For $100/hour, you can have the entire upstairs (six bowling lanes) to yourself, and bring your own food, booze, and music. Instead we took the cheap route (seeing a theme here?) and did the group bowling package, which gets you two hours of bowling for $13/person, including shoes.
Not only do I love duckpin because it's easier, but it makes me overwhelmingly nostalgic for my childhood. Growing up in Rodgers Forge, it was basically a rite of passage to have one of your birthday parties at Taylors Stoneleigh Duckpin Bowling Center on York Road. Then, I wasn't concerned as much with the BYOB as I was with their delicious carnival-style pizza and making shadow puppets on the projector while keeping score. Duckpin bowling was something a lot of Baltimoreans grew up on, which is why I ask: why aren't there more duckpin alleys in the city proper?
If you know anything about the sport, you know that it supposedly originated in Baltimore (legend has it that Babe Ruth was a big fan). So we should really take ownership of this sport and have more facilities that offer it within city lines. Sure, there are plenty of places to find it in the metro area: Edgemere Bowl-A-Drome outside of Dundalk, AMF Towson, AMF Pikesville, Hillendale Bowling Center, Parkville Lanes, Pinland Lanes in Dundalk, and the old stand-by in Stoneleigh.
But, Patterson is the only all-duckpin alley in the city? Just seems wrong. Swankier places like Mustang Alley's on Bank Street have opened and they offer four lanes of duckpins, but I wonder why more places don't. The charm, nostalgia, and local factors of the sport should be enough to make any business owner realize it's a smart idea.