Lucky Strike Aims To Provide Entertainment Beyond Its Pins
It's opening Saturday in Westfield Montgomery mall
Lucky Strike lanes in the new Bethesda location.
Westfield Montgomery mall’s new Lucky Strike is more than a bowling alley, its owner said.
Though the location, which opened to the general public Saturday, features 12 lanes of bowling, it also includes a full-service restaurant and bar and an ample seating area, both near the pins and out of sight of them.
“We wanted to create a really cool gastro pub and restaurant that lives and exists inside of a bowling alley,” said Steven Foster, founder and CEO of the Lucky Strike chain. “You come in here and don’t hear the bowling pins. … You can play if you want to, or you can eat and drink and never bowl.”
That doesn’t mean the comfort of the bowling experience isn’t taken seriously—the lanes are meant to have the feel of a private living room, Foster said, each one with its own 60-inch plasma-screen TV that can be controlled from the couches. Lanes can be sectioned off with drapes for private events, and bowlers can turn bumpers on and off for individual players.
The lanes each feature a large-screen TV that bowlers can control. Drapes can be extended between lanes for privacy.
The design of the alley follows the general style of the Lucky Strike chain with some deviations, Foster said. The first Lucky Strike opened in California in 2003 with the original decor from the movie set of The Big Lebowski. There are now more than a dozen locations across the U.S., including one in Washington, D.C.
Unique to the Bethesda location is its open kitchen, which includes a brick oven for pizzas, where the menu of American food and other cuisine is prepared. Specialties include a crispy chicken sandwich for $12, jumbo lump crab pizza for $16 and street-style tacos for $7. The restaurant also serves local offerings such as crab cakes and, for dessert, Smith Island cakes.
Long communal tables fill the front space of the restaurant, which features an open kitchen.
Though Lucky Strike also caters to parties and families during the day, Foster said he wanted it to be a place people would visit after work for a happy-hour atmosphere. The bar serves 16 taps and 12 bottles of regionally brewed draft beers along with specialty cocktails for $14 or $15.
The interior of the restaurant, which can serve about 110 people, includes two large communal tables with 28 seats each along with individual tables and couch areas, and the patio area seats 40.
Lucky Strike is located down a set of escalator’s from the mall’s Dining Terrace. It occupies the space of what was previously The Movies at Montgomery Mall theater, which closed in 2014.
Lucky Strike's bar serves regional draft beers and Victorian-inspired cocktails.
Foster said the mall location was a challenge and an opportunity for Lucky Strike, which has most of its locations in downtown metropolitan areas. Parking is convenient with the mall garage nearby and being in the mall allowed the chain to be creative with the patio space, he said. In upcoming months, Lucky Strike plans to introduce four brew tanks to the patio, which will brew four beers of the restaurant’s own recipe each season.
Bowling game rates vary from $3.95 to $6.95 per person, with shoe rentals at $4.50. On Friday and Saturday nights, groups can rent a lane for an hourly rate of $65.
Lucky Strike is open 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Lucky Strike offers board games and books that guests can pick up and use (left). An outdoor patio area features more coach seating. Credit on all photos: Joe Zimmermann