Located near Jiantan MRT Station (劍潭捷運站), Yuanshan Bowling Alley (圓山保齡球館) is rich in retro atmosphere — and by retro atmosphere, I mean it’s hella old. My Dad remembers going ice skating in the building, which was constructed in 1966 and is still completely funktastic. (I was totally born too late. Dammit, why aren’t I 60 years old?).
The lanes are also delightfully vintage. My family used to go bowling on weekends when I was in grade school. When I stepped into Yuanshan Bowling Alley, it was like magically being transported back to fifth grade. Once again, I was a 10-year old-shoving pizza down my face in between tirelessly tossing gutterball after gutterball while an army of my other kids screamed “Catherine, you suuuuuuuuck!” behind my back. Ah, memories. Unfortunately, some of Yuanshan’s equipment, which is at least a decade old, does not appear to have aged well. We got lane 24 and the pinsetter kept malfunctioning. In the middle of the second game, my friends and I finally called it quits and asked for a refund. The employees on duty that night seemed really eager to give us our money back, probably because they were sick of resetting the machine. Fortunately, each game is very inexpensive (two games plus shoe rental was NT$190).
Most of the other lanes seemed to be working fine and were occupied by families, groups of friends and a couple of teams wearing matching shirts. The bowling alley’s food stand only sells soda, candy and ramen noodles, but it’s a few blocks away from Shilin Night Market. If you want to enjoy giant murals of playing cards while hurling some big balls, the bowling alley is worth a visit. Just avoid lane 24. It’s… accursed (woooooooooooooooo). Yuanshan Bowling Alley is located at 6, Zhongshan N Rd Sec 5, Taipei City (台北市中山北路5段6號), tel: (02) 2881-2287