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Bluebird Lanes

View Map3900 W. Columbus Ave., Chicago
Tel: (773) 582-2828
View Website
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Editorial Review of Bluebird Lanes

When you hear a classic alley is undergoing a $1 million overhaul, you fear the wrong things are going to receive the nip/tuck. Bluebird Lanes, formerly Laredo Lanes, actually put its money toward forwarding the bowling experience, putting the kibosh on gimmickry. In a bold investment counter–strike, owner Bill Brennan chose to modernize all the lanes and scoring systems but stopped short of adding the youth friendly "cosmic bowling," a rock 'em, sock 'em mash–up of thumping bass, fog machines, day glo paint and black-lights.

He was a teen, too, Brennan says, and knows the crowd cosmic bowling brings. It's not the real-deal bowling audience Bluebird wishes to keep. Established in 1957, Bluebird caters to leagues and professionals, earning it the rep as the kind of lanes where 200 is a bowler's average and not a high-game aspiration. The owners put the customer ratio at 60 percent completive bowlers, the remainder being divided among leisure and family outings, and a well-stocked arcade and bar helps put curious bowlers who wander in without their own ball or shoes at ease.

Games run $3.25 per person, plus $3 for shoes; various specials on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Centerstage Reviewer: Quanah Humphreys

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3 p.m.–midnight Monday; 11 a.m.-close Tuesday-Wednesday; 9 a.m.-close Thursday; 11 a.m.–close Friday; 9 a.m.-close Saturday-Sunday

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chicago, metromix