Best Bowling Alley (Closed) (2006)

Don Carter Kendall Lanes

Let us now have a moment of silence for Don Carter's, the little bowling alley that could, and did, for 30 years. The Kendall branch opened in 1976, when most of the overcrowded suburb was but a gleam in an ambitious developer's eye, and it sadly has gone the way of most Miami businesses that possess any glimmer of authentic retro chic. Shuttered. Kaput. Finis. If you're the kind of "athlete" who owns your own bowling ball and shoes, you'll have to head out to the annoying brightness of Bird Bowl (9275 SW 40 St., Miami; 305-221-1221, or even farther to the Homestead Bowling Center (111 S. Homestead Blvd., Homestead; 305-246-1333). Hipsters can enjoy Lucky Strike Lanes (1691 Michigan Ave., Miami Beach; 305-532-0307, Just know that no self-respecting bowling alley serves coconut shrimp and hummus, dudes. Progress has marched on, but the memories remain. Don Carter's felt like the real deal -- musty, dark, and funky. The ambiance could be described as inadvertent kitsch (and isn't that really the best kind?), with cheesy track lighting, garish patterns in the carpet, and a distinct lack of contemporary chic flourishes. And the deals couldn't be beat. On Monday nights, visitors were able to pay $10 for the Bowl Your Brains Out deal: all-you-could-roll plus music, raffles, and Lightning Strikes, a stonerific explosion of special effects, lights, lasers, and fog. Ah, the good old days. Rumors of the location's imminent closing swirled for months. This past October, the following statement was posted on the company's Website: "While we are saddened to see this great establishment close, we will be open through October 2005." The date came and went, and the year came to a close. Two other dates were publicized as being the last call, but Don Carter representatives finally confirmed the tragic truth. The Kendall area landmark went out with a whimper, not with the promised celebration and hubbub. Sorry, boys, no more balls will roll down those familiar wooden lanes. Eventually the familiar gray building will be razed and maybe rebuilt into some bullshit chain store. Sentimental fans will lament, zip up their bowling bags, and then make the trek up to the remaining Don Carter locations in Tamarac and Davie.


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >