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Posted at 5:15 PM ET, 12/ 1/2005

Scoring Near the MCI Center

By Anne Kenderdine

Four of us gathered at Lucky Strike Wednesday night to check out the District's second bowling alley.

Turns out the brand new venue is more a sleek bar that happens to house 14 lanes than a place where thousands cheer. Only about half of the lanes were open when we were there. Julia put her name on the list and waited for about two hours, but never got a chance to bowl, so we're eager to hear from anyone who did. As bystanders, we liked how the monitors flash your ball's speed so you can heckle fellow players about their strength while waiting your turn.

The place has a swanky, Asian vibe, emphasized by the polished wood floors and consoles (subtly embellished with lane marker arrows) and the rice-paper-style lanterns covered in rich, red silk above the lanes and along the three pool tables. Dominating the space are counter-to-ceiling projection screens that flash images of art, both above the bar and at the end of the lanes. We hear some of the screens will show sports and other TV shows during the day and on weeknights, but will keep the mod-art vibe during Friday and Saturday DJ nights.

Food from the regular menu was not available to try, but it looks like Lucky Strike fills that Gallery Place price-point niche between Fado/Clyde's and Indebleu/Rosa Mexicano. Generally, burgers, pizzas and sandwiches are just under $10, and there's a host of small apps, too. The kitchen seems to be located behind the pins, and waiters bearing full trays are constantly charging up the walkway between the two sides of the lanes. We kept fearing some gutter ball gone awry would knock off a platter of the fried mac-and-cheese balls. Everyone wants to stand in the open space and, like a secret service agent, a bouncer-sized dude kept having to politely clear people out of the parade route. There's similar crowding around the pool tables.

The bar can hold up to 450 people and -- with only those 14 lanes -- we suspect it will take a long time to actually get a game going. Lucky Strike is a great place to hang without bowling, and is definitely a stylish and conveniently located spot for snacks or drinks before hitting the MCI Center. But if you're really looking forward to rolling like "The Dude," we recommend going early, or heading to a no-frills lane at GW or in the burbs.

-- Anne, Erin, Jen and Julia

By Anne Kenderdine  | December 1, 2005; 5:15 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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So when is this place opening for real, and not just in "shakedown" mode?

Posted by: Blackcloud | December 2, 2005 10:45 AM | Report abuse

No more "shakedown" -- Lucky Strike is officially open to the public.

Posted by: Julia | December 2, 2005 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I got a lane relatively quickly, and I had so much fun. This would be a good place for a party. Try the drinks with Pop Rocks around the rim!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 2, 2005 1:30 PM | Report abuse

You can reserve a lane ahead of time, but it's more expensive.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 2, 2005 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget the whole dress code thing as well.

Posted by: Smitty | December 2, 2005 3:00 PM | Report abuse

What, no sports jerseys and hats, something like that?

Posted by: Blackcloud | December 2, 2005 11:03 PM | Report abuse

DCist has a review, pictures and a discussion about the lucky strike dress code policy here:

Posted by: catherine | December 3, 2005 7:43 PM | Report abuse

I went on Saturday night. They were out of Guinness AND Stella. I was disappointed. Didn't get to bowl either. Doesn't matter though, this place will be popular.

Posted by: Rhome | December 5, 2005 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Are the GW lanes open to the public? I went once with friends from GW and learned I couldn't have gotten in without them.

Posted by: RB | December 5, 2005 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Everyone I've spoken with over at the Hippodrome insists that the alley is open to the not-GW public. Has anyone out there been turned away for not being from GW?

Posted by: Julia | December 6, 2005 12:57 PM | Report abuse

GW IS open to the public for the bowling, but it costs more for non-students, but there is NO drinkage

Posted by: Mith | December 6, 2005 3:01 PM | Report abuse

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