When new owners took over Richmond’s Lucky 9 Lanes Bowling Centre in late 2016, they spruced up the entire facility. Fresh flooring and paintwork projects were swiftly completed, while pinsetters, electronics, and scoring monitors were also upgraded, where required. But there was no need to change everything. “This has always been a full-service bowling centre,” says general manger Ryan Reid. “And we have everything you need here for a fun family time out.”

Lucky 9 Lanes
Lucky 9 Lanes is in the Riverport Entertainment District. | Photo: ​Lucky 9 Lanes

Why go?

The bright and inviting facility—located in the Riverport Entertainment District where restaurants, a movie theatre, and a swimming pool complex also reside—offers 28 ten-pin and 12 five-pin lanes. There’s also a small arcade, plus a full-service restaurant with its own microbrewery.

But while the brewpub has plenty of fans, it’s the excellent bowling facilities that draw the lion’s share of in-the-know visitors, according to Reid. “Our clientele is anyone and everyone. We have youth bowlers aged as young as 4 or 5 as well as some that are in their 90s,” he says, adding that bowling is popular in more than 70 countries around the world—including Asia, where some of the planet’s largest and busiest bowling centres operate.

Lucky 9 Lanes
Selecting the right ball is key. | Photo: ​Lucky 9 Lanes

First-timer tips

Despite its global popularity, though, there are still some locals and visitors who have yet to discover the thrill of a great strike. But, as Reid explains, Lucky 9 Lanes is an inviting spot to vanquish a few pins (or throw a gutter ball or three) while exploring a new pastime. “You definitely don’t need to be the best in the world to really enjoy bowling,” he says. “But you do need to be willing to have a laugh and a good time.”

If you’re a newbie, Reid adds, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. “Take some time to find a ball that fits your hand comfortably. And remember that it’s not all about power—you need to be accurate, so don't try to throw the ball as hard as you can.”

Lucky 9 Lanes
Enjoy the thrill of a strike at Lucky 9 Lanes. | Photo: ​Lucky 9 Lanes

Prices and deals

Rates at the centre run from $4.00 to $5.50 per person per game for junior bowlers, and from $5.00 to $6.50 for adults (shoe rentals cost $3 to $5 extra). Evening Cosmic Bowling on Fridays and Saturdays costs $7.50 per person per game. And while booking ahead is certainly advised for larger groups, lanes are typically available for walk-ins.

But if you’re still not sure about giving bowling a go, Lucky 9 Lanes also offers some enticing deals to pry you off your couch. “We have a great special on Wednesdays right now for walk-in groups of up to five people: 1.5 hours of bowling, shoe rentals, a pizza, and a jug of beer or pop—all for just $60.” It’s not the only special available here either: there’s also a bowling-only special for $25 to $35 per hour per lane plus shoe rentals.

Lucky 9 Lanes
Enjoy a beer, pizza, and bowling package. | Photo: ​Lucky 9 Lanes

Not just bowling

But it’s that beverage-included package that brings many regulars back through the door, especially if they’re craft beer fans. While bowling alley beer is usually unexciting, Lucky 9 Lanes raises the bar with its own onsite microbrewery. Home of Silverback Stout, Hop Monkey IPA and more, Monkey 9 Brewing is a destination in itself, combining tasty beers with comfort food dining.

Monkey 9 Brewing - Photo: BC Ale Trail
Enjoy some great beer at Monkey 9 Brewing. | Photo: ​BC Ale Trail

“Having our own brewery gives our bowlers a unique experience,” says Reid. “You can have some great food and beer in our pub, then head over and bowl a few games with a couple more beers. We have a bowling menu that includes pizza and snacks, and these can be served right to your lane with your beverages of choice.” And if that doesn’t get you off the couch for a game or two, nothing will.

If you go:

Lucky 9 Lanes is at #150 - 14200 Entertainment Blvd. It’s open from 10:00am to 11:00pm Sunday to Thursday and from 10:00am to midnight Friday and Saturday. Walk-ins are always welcome, but you need to reserve ahead for larger groups.