A while back, I said the South Loop needed a horse stable to make it a world-class neighborhood. But I've changed my mind. What we need is a good bowlng alley.
No, I don't mean one of those new-fangled ones with dim lighting and fancy food like the one at Marina City or the one at the River East AMC. I mean a real bowling alley. Like the one I was at Sunday night: Fireside Bowl at 2648 W. Fullerton.
This one was the real McCoy: old ratty bowling shoes to rent; balls galore; a true cocktail lounge called "The Lounge" where you can also run in for huge plastic pitchers of beer for $16 and a dozen plastic plastic cups for all your friends. You can get pizza delivered. And an empanada food truck that stands at attention outside. There's also movie theater-type candy for sale. What more could anyone ask?
The guys who rented the shoes also sold the beer, manned the lounge, hawked the candy and told the pizza man where to go. They all did all those things, slithering around to wherever they were needed. They were bartenders, shoe guys, candy guys and bouncers. And they all kind of looked alike. Like guys who'd seen it all.
The good thing about bowling, I learned, is that if you ever knew how to bowl well--you don't forget. In just a few minutes of bowling, I had six strikes, a score of spares, a lot of pins down and only two gutter balls. And I haven't bowled for well over 40 years. Form is form and you keep it if you ever had it.
So, South Loop, how are we going to recreate one of these old-fashioned gems on our streets? It's something that one of the community organizations should get busy doing. Because people would be out of their houses at night bowling up a storm if they could.
At our very own South Loop Lanes.