The combination of shiny shirts, odd shoes and a handful of Hollywood movies has given 10-pin bowling a cult following. yet this seems to detract from the fact that bowling is a very competitive pastime taken extremely seriously by 100 million players in 90 different countries, playing on 250,000 bowling lanes worldwide. These figures alone make bowling one of the most widely played sports in the world, and its governing body, Fédération Internationale des Quilleurs, is currently lobbying for it to become an Olympic event.
Dubai is awash with bowling alleys, as well as its own federation, the Emirates Bowling Federation (www.emiratesbowling.com), and a number of amateur bowling leagues of varying standard – the Dubai Bowling Centre in Al Quoz, for example, has scores of teams playing in numerous leagues running throughout the year. Inspired, Time Out set out to find the city’s top bowling alleys, as well as learn some of the lingo on our way.
Best for: casual bowling
Al Nasr Leisureland
It doesn’t look much, but this dated yet cosy eight-lane bowling centre, located near popular superclub Chi, is great fun for all ages and all levels of bowling prowess. It always proves a popular budget option with local families, as well as more rowdy groups looking for licensed post-brunch entertainment.
Dhs15 per person, Dhs90 per lane per hour (9am-4pm), Dhs100 per lane per hour (4pm-midnight). Open daily 9am-midnight. Oud Metha, www.alnasrll.com (04 337 1234)
Best for: all-round entertainment
With centres across the UAE, Bowling City’s flagship branch, located slap-bang in the middle of Festival Centre, has brought the brand into the heart of Dubai. Featuring 12 lanes and nine pool tables (not forgetting four karaoke cabins), Bowling City is a haven for close-skilled sports, offering multiple distractions in one sizeable venue.
Sat-Thu Dhs15 per person per game, Fri Dhs20 per person per game. Open Sat-Thu 10am-midnight, Fri 10am-1am. Festival Centre, Dubai Festival City (04 232 8600)
Best for: league play
Dubai Bowling Centre
A fortress of bowling – literally. The Dubai Bowling Centre is set in a huge faux castle and features 24 professional-series bowling lanes, with requisite LCD scoring systems and buffers for beginners. The centre is a hotbed of league and tournament activity, with a Monday mixed league, ladies’ league on Wednesdays and the Sunday mixed bowling club.
Sun-Wed Dhs15 per person per game, Dhs85 per hour per lane; Thu-Sat Dhs20/Dhs100; Fri Dhs20/Dhs120. Open daily 10am-12.30am. Dubai Bowling Centre, Al Quoz, www.bowlingdubai.com (04 339 1010)
Best for: budget bowling
Dubai International Bowling Centre
The enormous skittle (of the bowling variety, not the popular confectionery) on the building’s roof says it all: this is a haven for Dubai’s bowling masses. This behemoth of an alley features 36 synthetic Brunswick lanes (the Brunswick Corporation developed bowling equipment back in the 1800s), not to mention a smattering of pool tables and arcade games.
Sun-Wed: 9am-4pm Dhs10 per person, Dhs60 per hour per lane; 4pm-1am Dhs12 per person, Dhs80 per lane. Thu-Fri: Dhs50 per half hour, Dhs100 per hour per lane. Sat: 9am-noon Dhs12 per person; noon-1am Dhs15 per person. Open daily 9am-1am. Next to Century Mall, Deira, www.dubaibowlingcentre.com (04 296 9222)
Learn the lingo
Time Out acquaints itself with the sport’s eccentric terminology
When three strikes are bowled consecutively.
When a bowler throws a spare then a turkey, followed by another spare.
When a bowler throws three consecutive spares.
Knocking down nine pins in three consecutive frames (aka 999).
A player renowned for smooth timing and delivery with a relatively low amount of hook on the ball.
Lanes where it’s easy (relatively speaking) to throw a strike.