Bringing Bowling Back To Martha’s Vineyard

Bowling Center on Martha's Vineyard Not since the nineties — or unless you’re lucky enough to have friends with private lanes — have people been able to bowl on Martha’s Vineyard. With a bigger year-round community and more people visiting off-season, this Island is in need of more things to do.

Bowling in Oak Bluffs

Well hopefully, sooner rather than later, we’ll be able to go bowling. Yes, there truly is a plan for some lanes and more in Oak Bluffs.

The big old yellow building that seems as though it’s been abandoned forever that you see from Circuit Avenue is going to be the location. The plan also includes the space from two additional rundown buildings on Uncas Avenue.

Yes, three unused eyesores will be torn down to create the space for a 10 lane bowling center. Wondering about the name? Well, the owners/developers Sam Dunn, Bob Sawyer, and Barry Reeves are deciding between OB Bowl or Martha’s Vineyard Bowl.

I kind of like OB Bowl — it’s catchy and rolls off the tongue easily.

This place is going to be a strike and I mean in bowling terms, so that means pretty awesome. It isn’t your grandpa’s bowling alley.

There will be 10 lanes and a restaurant downstairs. Upstairs will have a function room (think fun work outings and birthday parties) and a couple high tech golf simulation games.

With these games, you’ll be able to choose from courses around the world, feel like you’re really there, and even use your own clubs. The golfing will be the only games in addition to bowling, no video games, etc.

Having a restaurant is really going to help create a whole experience. You can munch on apps while you wait for your game or maybe grab lunch or dinner before or after. The menu will be Vineyard pub, meaning burgers, fried clams, lobster rolls, chowder, etc.

Also, I love that you will be able to have a cocktail while bowling. I can only imagine how much fun they’ll have naming them. There are so many great bowling terms that can be used, like a Swing Shot, Powder Puff, Sandbagger, the list goes on and on.

Ok, back to the fact that this place will offer people the chance for an evening out, a break from the movies or pot-lucks or whatever, a complete entertainment experience. Think of how much kids will love it.

The new bumper systems are great. They’re automatic and easy to use. This bowling center is being designed to be family-friendly and affordable and provide entertainment year-round.

Almost a Reality

Much to my dismay, there is still a long road ahead of this project. It has to go a couple more boards, including the MVC. So, it might still be a while until this is a reality.

Something on such a large scale in a mixed use area, meaning commercial and residential, is bound to be looked at carefully. The location is close to a number of homes and a number of businesses. I imagine people are concerned about this new addition to the community.

The buildings that are now there, seem like they are not suitable really for anything. It’s just another collection of run-down buildings.  It’s time for a change. Let’s get rid of them and make something beautiful and something the whole Island can enjoy.

Take a look at the plans. It’s a good size building and will have a lot of parking, so we don’t have to worry about that. Also, it includes the addition of sidewalks in the design which will be a great addition to Uncas Avenue.

Another fun challenge, which I was surprised about, is the fact that the large yellow building is not on town sewer. So, in order to make it work, there will have to be composting toilets or they’ll have to put in a seriously expensive nitrate system. We’ll have to see which route they take.

Sam Dunn is an architect, and plans to have the new building fit well with the current tenor of the neighborhood. This project is designed to enhance the area and create a community, family-friendly space.

He has done a number of projects on the Island, like the Tisbury Market Place and the MV Film Center, but he has never seen as much enthusiasm for a project as this one. People are starved for a bowling alley, and I believe him.

Sometimes change is needed. Well, I guess in this case it is a nod to the past since there have been a number of different bowling places on the Island over the years. I can’t wait to hit lanes. I took bowling for gym my senior year in high school, so I am ready to shake off the cobwebs and refine my game.

Hopefully my next On Point Blog about this will be about when we’ll be able to bowl on Martha’s Vineyard.

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11 thoughts on “Bringing Bowling Back To Martha’s Vineyard”

    1. As neighbors, I can imagine there is a lot of concern about something like this. However, I too live in a B1 district in OB and have businesses for neighbors and it’s not always perfect. However, I don’t think this is going to be a sports bar by any means. From what I understand the center is going to be focused on family friendly fun not the bar crowd. No one wants a sports bar at the end of Circuit Avenue.

      I hope that whatever the outcome is – everyone is happy and successful.

  1. This sports bar does not belong in a residential community. Our neighborhood is quiet, friendly and caring. This project is unsafe with traffic and parking concerns. Our downtown is falling down around us. Seasons is empty and both movie theaters are a disgrace. What a novel concept it would be to put bar/alleys in one of the theaters. Oh well, maybe you will buy my house which abuts this dinasour, if this is such a great idea.

  2. I think it is a wonderful idea and Sam Dunn is just the person to make this happen. I am sure the road to making this happen will be met with dome strong opinions but those behind the project have the tenacity it takes to make it happen. Best of luck and polish up those bowling shoes !

    1. I agree Beth – I think it will be tastefully done and will be a great addition to not only Oak Bluffs but to the whole island.

  3. My wife and I have been spending our summer vacations on MV for twenty (20) years. We are drawn to Oak Bluffs by its throw-back era charms. All of the business, shops, restaurants and places of worship fit together seamlessly. Even on nights were there are special events there is still what I refer to as the “Oak Bluffs Quiet.” The bowling alley/sports bar/restaurant complex would, in my opinion, shatter the tranquility that is Oak Bluffs. Therefore, in the strongest terms possible, I urge rejection of this project. Thank you.

  4. As a potential neighbor, I don’t share your romance of having a bowling alley in the neighborhood. Those of us who live around the “big old yellow building” at least have the comfort of knowing we can enjoy our property in the evenings and at night without the noise, added traffic and congestion of a bar/bowling alley. Can’t count the number of times I’ve turned onto Circuit Ave. on a weekend and just shook my head at the empty beer bottles and plastic cups people have tossed in our yards and bushes as though they were trash receptacles, not to mention those who’ve probably relieved themselves in those very same shrubs.
    Romanticizing building a bowling center in a largely residential part of OB is like “putting lipstick on a pig,” absolutely unthinkable and a ridiculous notion at that.

  5. I understand the “not in my backyard” feelings about this proposed project. Good project leaders listen to the community, listen to their neighbors. I would really like to see this project happen and to see some life back in OB- for the youth, for the families, and for the parents who want a beer while they bowl!

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