Time to strike: Bowlounge opens Friday in El Jebel | AspenTimes.com

Time to strike: Bowlounge opens Friday in El Jebel

The expanded bar at Bowlounge and high-top tables are topped with reclaimed wood from the lanes of an old bowling alley in Texas.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times |


What: Bowlounge grand opening

Where: 280 Favre Lane, El Jebel

When: Friday starting at 5 p.m.

El Jebowl in El Jebel will be reborn today as Bowlounge.

The renovated bowling alley, under new ownership, will hold its grand opening starting at 5 p.m.

Co-owner Craig Spivey is on a mission to prove to a younger generation of Roaring Fork Valley residents that Bowlounge isn’t their father’s bowling alley.

Spivey and partner Tom Weber took the best of what El Jebowl offered, featuring 16 bowling lanes, and modernized it.

Sixteen televisions over the bowling lanes will more often than not be blaring music videos, from classic rock to hair bands to the punk-tinged clips from the formative years of MTV.

Three big-screen TVs in the bar area and another three in the pool table area will show football and other games, giving it a sports bar feel.

The partners and their right-hand man, Dillon McDermott, tore out the walls that separated the barroom and game room from the bowling area, creating an open, larger feel. The bar itself was vastly expanded and made from reclaimed wood from bowling lanes from an alley in Texas. They added roughly 25 seats to the old bar. High-top tables in the bar and eating area also were topped with wood salvaged from a bowling alley.

The bar figures to be a popular place, even among non-bowlers. There are 20 beers on tap, with a hefty selection from Colorado. There are also craft cocktails influenced by drinks from the cult-classic film “The Big Lebowski.”

Four portraits of Lebowski characters hang on the walls. The paintings are on velvet, of course.

While taking a break from preparations for the grand opening, Spivey said Wednesday he thinks word of mouth will attract people to Bowlounge. Some people will check it out while looking for something to do during offseason and will tell their friends it’s a pretty cool place, he speculated.

Other people will learn about it during holiday parties, and then come back on their own.

Spivey and Weber built their business similarly through word of mouth at Bowlounge in Dallas.

“Everybody had this stereotype — ‘Oh, this is the same old bowling alley,’” he said. They quickly learned it wasn’t the same old same old.

The partners bought the El Jebel business and lease from the Stecklein family, which opened El Jebowl in 1992.

Bowlounge will be open from 5 p.m. to midnight on today for the grand opening and 4 p.m. to midnight on Saturday. Typical public hours will be 4 to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, though hours will be adjusted in October when the restaurant opens. Bowling leagues also will have special hours.

More information on Bowlounge, including contacts for job openings and bookings for events, can be found at http://bowleljebel.com. Bowlounge still needs to fill between 12 to 15 positions, including waiters and bartenders.


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