Mashpee Bowling Alley As Bar and Bistro
By HEATHER WYSOCKI
January 31, 2013
I am a terrible bowler. Really, really terrible. At one point after high school, despite weekly trips with friends to a bowling alley in Falmouth, I still could not bowl over 105.
That terrible. Meaning the idea of spending an evening bowling isn't exactly scintillating.
But I love a good bar, and am a rather big fan of the cult flick "The Big Lebowski," which features a few wacky bowlers, so I figured I'd give the brandnew The Lanes Bowl & Bistro in Mashpee Commons a try despite its pin persuasion.
Consider me bowled over.
While a few Cape bowling alleys serve beer and others serve no alcohol at all, Lanes offers choices — in the form of New Englandbrewed beers, a pretty snazzy wine list (with a few organic bottles on there) and a sweet cocktail list.
Even at many Cape bars, such a succinct but successful drinks list is hard to come by.
And this isn't the type of place, as portrayed in many a movie about the Midwest, where the same ornery guy who cleans the bowling shoes reaches into a decrepit chest freezer to hand over a few Rolling Rocks with their caps still on.
Oh, no — Lanes is more a bar that happens to have a nicelooking bowling alley in it. And musical entertainment on weekend nights.
The restaurant space is sleek, with a grayandred color palette that really ups the ante on sophistication. Quirky decorations in the restaurant area — such as a collage on the wall made of film reels, and the barstools and chairs made of recycled seat belts — elevate the area above sports bar, though there are quite a few flatscreen TVs too.
(An aside: The people who own the cozy, darkwoodandwhiskeycentric Bobby Byrne's chain of pubs also run Lanes, but they're two totally different animals.)
The restaurant area is attached to but separate from the bowling area — so if you really want to avoid all the pin action, it's pretty easy to do.
My companion and I had plans to grab dinner and drinks there, then eventually, somewhat grudgingly mosey over to the namesake lanes.
Let's start with the drinks list. I ordered the Honey Badger Martini which, aside from having the best name this side of some daiquiri named after Charlie the Unicorn (which doesn't exist but should), was a delicious mix of spicy gin, local honey and lemon. Like a supersophisticated, refreshing Hot Toddy.
Other drinks were similar combos of fresh juices and liquors from smaller distilleries. Not surprisingly, they're on the pricier side — $9 to $11 — but for what they're pouring, I consider it pretty reasonable.
Onto the food: I'll admit that I kind of love those radioactively colored cheesesauce nachos that some other bowling alleys have. But Lanes isn't that kind of place, so expect more.
Our fried pickles(!) and pizza were fantastic — and the pie rivaled the two other woodfired places I've tried in Mashpee.
And items on the menu include pretzelroll sliders and a bunch more fried appetizers, like lobster risotto balls and sweet chili shrimp.
About now you're probably noticing that I haven't mentioned the, ahem, bowling part of The Lanes Bowl &Bistro.
Confession time: We didn't actually bowl at the place dedicated to bowling. By the time we'd finished our meal, all the while listening to those pins click and clack (but not too loudly) over a soundtrack that sounded like my iPod circa 2006 (think Interpol, Feist, Bloc Party), all the lanes were full of people who looked like they were sticking around awhile.
Here, a word to the wise: The 10 lanes were full and it was only a Tuesday (in January). Our bartender told us that Friday and Saturday nights since the opening a couple of weeks ago have had a twohour wait for the bowling lanes, so offhours are probably the best times to go.
The 10 lanes were full of groups of grownups (not screaming, birthday cakefueled children) having a fun, but not too rowdy, time.
And I was actually disappointed that I missed the bowling. We will definitely be back to take a spin at the lanes (where you can order and consume your beverages, no sneering guy with a Minnesota accent required).
Across the country in large cities, these types of pub/alley combinations have cropped up promising a sophisticated bar experience swirled together with a bit of retro fun.
And between the creative menu, great drink list and bowlingwithaboost alley, that's exactly what Lanes delivers. Local singers and bands play on weekend nights: on Friday, for example, it's Brian Sances, and on
Saturday, Boombasnap plays; both are scheduled from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Slick and, dare I say, slightly sexy, Lanes is something totally new to Cape Cod and could be worth checking out for a different kind of evening, whether you're the type who gets a strike every time or the one who, like me, would really like to be a kid again so those bumper things on the lanes would be acceptable.