City Central features Dell Lanes and Lounge
This instalment of the continuing series about the community in City Central features Dell Lanes and Lounge —the place for bowling fun in the historic Whalley area since 1959.
As the door swings open to the entrance of Dell Lanes and Lounge, the thunder of bowling balls rumbling down the alley assails the senses. The unmistakeable crash of falling pins herald a strike amid cheers from the sidelines. The cacophony brings back a nostalgic feeling. How long has it been since I have been in a bowling alley?
Dell Lanes has been in operation in Surrey for 58 years, providing the community with the ages old entertainment of five-pin bowling. (Factoid: Thomas Ryan invented 5 pin bowling in Toronto in 1909, in response to complaints of his customers that the ten-pin ball was too heavy and the game was too slow. Five pin bowling is only played in Canada! — Bowl Ontario 5 Pin).
The Dell Lanes bowling alley has been owned by the Cooper family since 2002 and today, is managed by a family member, Kayla Cooper. “I basically grew up here,” she grins “I have pictures of me as a toddler happily playing around the lanes. I first started working as a pin chaser when I was 16 and worked my way through the ranks from the kitchen to finally, manager.”
Bowling has had its surges in popularity over the years and Kayla says that today the sport is most popular with families, kids and college students looking for something fun to do that won’t break the bank.
Dell Lanes has made many changes over the years that have kept patrons happy and coming back. The centre now has a licensed lounge and a full kitchen with an extensive menu that includes everything from appetizers (try the mac wedges), to sandwiches, wraps and pizza. Kayla points out, “Our nachos and the beef dip are the big favourites with our customers.” The menu is varied and there is something for every taste — even pastas and salads. Kayla says, “We are focused on the fun aspect of bowling — you can come here and bowl a couple of games yourself or with friends, or have a great date night — dinner, drinks and fun. We are fully licensed including the concourse, so you can have a cocktail or glass of wine brought to you right at your lane. It’s a great night out. Fun and affordable!”
Fun is the name of the game at Dell Lanes. The 16 alleys were upgraded in 2012 to new, state of the art acrylic lanes, new string machines were installed replacing the outdated free fall machines, and comfy couches replaced the old-style seats. There are six pairs of bumper lanes available for kids and booth seating in the bowling area for dining. The Dell stages live karaoke nights as well as other special events such as their Cosmic Bowling experience! This exciting event features laser, disco, black and runway lights, fog machines and loud music — and, of course, glow in the dark bowling lanes. Kayla mentions, “On Mondays and Wednesdays, we offer two hours of FREE bowling for up to six people, you only pay for your shoe rental.”
She continues “We also host children’s and teens’ birthday parties, office parties, school field trips, and fundraisers. Our kids’ parties are very popular — the kids have a lot fun, there is food, pop, and bowling! Bowling is great for kids — an activity that everyone can enjoy. The best part for the parents? No mess to clean up after the party — we do it all!”
“Of course, if you are interested in joining league bowling, we provide that as well.” She comments that Dell Lanes offer league play including traditional leagues that welcome all skill levels and their most competitive adult classic league that has a match play format. “We also have a membership program,” Kayla says, “with great rates and awesome benefits. A yearly membership costs $60 and includes two hours of free bowling every day (except Christmas Day when we are closed), monthly coupons for extra savings, in-house specials, discounts on bowling equipment and much more. Shoe rentals are not included in memberships, except for the birthday special where you can bring up to 5 guests for two hours of free bowling with shoe rental included.” She adds, “Memberships are discounted when you purchase more than one yearly membership at the same time – for example, if you buy yearly memberships for your family of four, you would save $15 per membership.”
When asked what she loves most about managing a bowling alley, Kayla says, without hesitation, “The diversity of the people who come out to bowl. We have all kinds of people coming here — some are serious bowlers who come to practice when they are not playing in tournaments, some are looking for something to do to relieve the pressures of a hard day, and some just want to relax and have a good time with friends or by themselves. We have a regular bowler who comes in twice a week to play — and she is 92 years old! That is the thing about bowling — it is for every skill level — you don’t need to be a super athlete to participate in a fun sport!”
Dell Lanes and Lounge is located at 10576 King George Boulevard. Check out their website for more information.