Bowlski’s |


story by Jeanne McGovern photos by Anna Stonehouse
The details: 280 Favre Lane, 970-963-1978, Prices: $8 to $16 Ambience: Retro, old-school bowling alley, arcade vibe Signature dish: The Nikki Jane, a waffle cone filled with fried chicken bites, covered with syrup, and served with French fries Not to Miss: The wings – a classic, tossed in buffalo sauce with a side of ranch dressing; Old-school patio games like cornhole; The shotski, a mountain-town tradition

There are times when the Roaring Fork Valley’s fine-dining scene gets to be too much. Too much froufrou, too much chic, too much money … just too much.

But rest assured, there is a place where you can take it all down a notch and just have some good, old-school fun: Bowlski’s in El Jebel.

Formerly known as El Jebowl, this midvalley bowling alley has taken on new life in recent months thanks to owner Craig Spivey’s vision for what fun is all about.

“Craig knows how to do things,” says Brad McMahan, who runs several bars with Spivey in Dallas. “We’re making this place into so much more than just a bowling alley.”

Indeed, Bowlski’s seems to have it all: outdoor patio games, classic arcade games (Ms. PacMan, anyone?), retro music videos, karaoke, comic bowling and, of course, a rockin’ bar and food menu.

And trust us, this might look like your standard bar food fare but it’s got some serious flair.

Take, for example, The Nikki Jane. Spivey’s take on chicken and waffles, these chicken bites are perfectly breaded, tender and fried to perfection before being stuffed in a waffle cone and drenched in maple syrup. A side of French fries completes the experience.

“It’s like fair food, but done really well,” McMahan says. “Wings, pizzas, burgers … we’ve got it all.”

Even more impressive, though, might be the selection at the bar. With variety of scotch, whiskey, bourbons, and many Texas spirits, as well as a huge lineup of beers on tap and wines by the glass or bottle, you can definitely whet your whistle at Bowlski’s. And, if you’re feeling really bold, take on the Shotski or the Chugski (yes, it’s a snowboard fitted with beer glasses).

“It’s all about the fun here,” McMahan says.

On that note: keep an eye on Bowlski’s throughout the summer as they plan to expand the outdoor space to include live music and, coming soon, a year-round ice rink. Purchased on eBay, this synthetic sheet of “ice” is destined to up the chill factor when you break out of the fine dining mold.