Grand opening of Bradenton Bowlero set for Saturday, April 6
It had been a while since David Brown had gone bowling.
But Wednesday, at the urging of his elementary school-age great-nephew, Jackson Mould, they went to Bowlero at 4208 Cortez Road — the former AMF Bradenton Lanes — and walked into a brand-new experience.
For starters, there are wall-to-wall high-definition video screens above the pins in each of the center’s 64 lanes, playing classic family movies, sports and music videos.
Then there is Bowlero’s signature blacklight bowling, a big change from traditional fluorescent lights.
The intent is to revitalize the classic family sport with a sleek, retro look that taps into the video game age with an interactive arcade, featuring Mario Kart, The Giant Crane and Sink It, and raises the ante in the food department.
“We love it. We were here before they remodeled it and the food is awesome,” Brown said.
Ted Weiner, 63, is a serious bowler who recently returned from a tournament in Las Vegas.
“Oh, man, it’s beautiful. Love the atmosphere. The food is killer. I eat here about every day,” Weiner said before going out and throwing a series of strikes.
For his league play, however, Weiner said he would play on Bowlero’s traditionally lit lanes, but can see how the blacklight lanes could be a lot of fun for the casual bowler.
Bowlero Corp. announced this week that the Bradenton center is the fifth in Florida to get the new treatment and renovations.
District manager Ken O’Neil was in town on Wednesday and said that the Bradenton center is the first of his 12 bowling centers to get the renovation, which cost an average of about $1.2 million.
The Bradenton Bowlero is among the larger centers in O’Neil’s district, so the renovation costs may have been higher than the average.
Nationwide, Bradenton is the 65th bowling center to be overhauled by Bowlero with plans to increase the total to 77 by summer, O’Neil said. The first Bowlero opened in 2014 in Woodland, Texas.
“We are aggressively going through the process of remodeling,” O’Neil said.
Bowlmor purchased AMF in 2013 and the Brunswick Corp. a couple years later. In the summer of 2018, the company changed its named to Bowlero Corp.
Renovations at the Bradenton Bowleo started about a year ago, and as improvements came online, staff nearly doubled to about 60, O’Neil said.
“It’s not what you’re accustomed to seeing. When people walk in they go, ‘Wow,’ ” O’Neil said. “It’s remarkable what you start with and what you finish with. It’s a one-stop entertainment center for the entire family.”
The sports bar area has also been freshened up with large-screen TVs, a separate seating area, pool tables and quirky artwork. A wide selection of cocktails, wine and beer are served.
Still to come are renovations to the kitchen area.
The public is invited to the grand opening of the Bradenton Bowlero from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday for free bowling, arcade play, giveaways and more. RSVP is recommended at bowlero.com/bradenton-grand-opening.
Donnie Nelson, general manager of the Bradenton Bowlero, said he welcomed the news that AMF Bradenton Lanes was being transformed into Bowlero.
“I thought it was awesome. I knew it would be good for us and the community as well,” Nelson said.
For more information about Bowlero, visit bowlero.com.