Sometimes bowling in a clean, well-lit, family-friendly alley just isn't what you're after. You want the chipped-linoleum bathroom, the dissolute attendant with the half-inch of ash hanging off his cigarette, the scarred and oddly colored balls that never fit your fingers quite right, the heavy-metal jukebox, the attached bar serving only urine-colored beer and barely heated frozen food. In other words, a bowling alley in the mold of Rocky's meat locker. Enter Golden Bowl, where there never seems to be a wait for a lane and the pencils are always sharp for that "old-time" scoring (you remember how to score a spare, right?). Besides, you haven't really bowled until you've hit Monday's "dollar night": kamikazes and bowling for a buck each. Now, that's entertainment.


Golden Bowl Bar & Lounge
Sometimes bowling in a clean, well-lit, family-friendly alley just isn't what you're after. You want the chipped-linoleum bathroom, the dissolute attendant with the half-inch of ash hanging off his cigarette, the scarred and oddly colored balls that never fit your fingers quite right, the heavy-metal jukebox, the attached bar serving only urine-colored beer and barely heated frozen food. In other words, a bowling alley in the mold of Rocky's meat locker. Enter Golden Bowl, where there never seems to be a wait for a lane and the pencils are always sharp for that "old-time" scoring (you remember how to score a spare, right?). Besides, you haven't really bowled until you've hit Monday's "dollar night": kamikazes and bowling for a buck each. Now, that's entertainment.

Northwest Denver is blooming around Tennyson Street, with new restaurants and chichi shops turning the already eclectic enclave into a hipster oasis. But Elitch Lanes, one of the area's most enduring attractions, remains pleasantly stuck in the past: Every night of the week, it's just balls, bad shoes and devoted bowlers knockin' 'em down the well-waxed pine lanes. Elitch's prices, and the grandpa's-basement interior, recall an earlier time, too: During Quarter Mania on Tuesday and Thursday nights, games, shoe rental and hot dogs run 25 cents a pop (with a $4 cover); College Night takes over on Wednesdays, with dollar games, shoes and beer. It's an inexpensive and fun way to check somebody out: After a few hours on the lanes, you'll have a good sense of whether you're rolling strikes or gutter balls.
Elitch Lanes
Northwest Denver is blooming around Tennyson Street, with new restaurants and chichi shops turning the already eclectic enclave into a hipster oasis. But Elitch Lanes, one of the area's most enduring attractions, remains pleasantly stuck in the past: Every night of the week, it's just balls, bad shoes and devoted bowlers knockin' 'em down the well-waxed pine lanes. Elitch's prices, and the grandpa's-basement interior, recall an earlier time, too: During Quarter Mania on Tuesday and Thursday nights, games, shoe rental and hot dogs run 25 cents a pop (with a $4 cover); College Night takes over on Wednesdays, with dollar games, shoes and beer. It's an inexpensive and fun way to check somebody out: After a few hours on the lanes, you'll have a good sense of whether you're rolling strikes or gutter balls.
For an honest, old-fashioned game of billiards and some of the best action in the area, head to Paradise. This ancient hall is the closest thing you'll find in Denver to the sort of underground, New York-style dark room where the true pool players lurk. Most days the snooker tables are held by old-timers playing Golf, and the Thursday-evening 9-ball tournament is probably the toughest game around. Road players often stop by when passing through, and the city's three women pros -- Melissa Little, Megan Minerich and Laura Smith -- frequently practice here, too.


For an honest, old-fashioned game of billiards and some of the best action in the area, head to Paradise. This ancient hall is the closest thing you'll find in Denver to the sort of underground, New York-style dark room where the true pool players lurk. Most days the snooker tables are held by old-timers playing Golf, and the Thursday-evening 9-ball tournament is probably the toughest game around. Road players often stop by when passing through, and the city's three women pros -- Melissa Little, Megan Minerich and Laura Smith -- frequently practice here, too.

Most metro-area indoor rec centers struggle to decide what they are. A splash area for kids? A workout pool for adults? As a result, many end up inadequate. Not Wheat Ridge Recreation Center. One side of this massive complex boasts a 120-foot water slide, fountains, a lazy river (free flotation devices available) and an outdoor patio for summer. On the other side, separated by a glass wall, is an eight-lane, 25-yard pool large enough to accommodate anything from a gaggle of geriatric breast-strokers to an entire competitive swimming meet. For the more daring, the adult side also has a springy one-meter diving board where grownups can practice their very mature cannonballs.


Wheat Ridge Recreation Center
Most metro-area indoor rec centers struggle to decide what they are. A splash area for kids? A workout pool for adults? As a result, many end up inadequate. Not Wheat Ridge Recreation Center. One side of this massive complex boasts a 120-foot water slide, fountains, a lazy river (free flotation devices available) and an outdoor patio for summer. On the other side, separated by a glass wall, is an eight-lane, 25-yard pool large enough to accommodate anything from a gaggle of geriatric breast-strokers to an entire competitive swimming meet. For the more daring, the adult side also has a springy one-meter diving board where grownups can practice their very mature cannonballs.

Busy downtown worker bees who still have a jones for hauling in lunkers could be forgiven for thinking that northwest Denver's Lake Carol Anne is the best thing since climbing walls went indoors. Located ten minutes from downtown, this fourteen-acre catch-and-release private lake is open between March and December. Early season, Carol Anne (named for co-owner Carol Anne Bohn, who, with her husband, Punch, bought the place in 1991) is stocked with several varieties of trout. As the temperature rises, largemouth bass becomes the fish of choice. One thing the swimmers all have in common, though, is size: The trout can weigh as much as fifteen pounds; the bass can tip the scales at eight. "And we have two-pound bluegill," the real-life Carol Anne says. "Your chances of catching a huge fish here are wonderful." Of course, great fishing within casting distance of LoDo isn't free. The Bohns, who limit membership at their pond to 100, charge $500 per year to cast 'n' commute.


Busy downtown worker bees who still have a jones for hauling in lunkers could be forgiven for thinking that northwest Denver's Lake Carol Anne is the best thing since climbing walls went indoors. Located ten minutes from downtown, this fourteen-acre catch-and-release private lake is open between March and December. Early season, Carol Anne (named for co-owner Carol Anne Bohn, who, with her husband, Punch, bought the place in 1991) is stocked with several varieties of trout. As the temperature rises, largemouth bass becomes the fish of choice. One thing the swimmers all have in common, though, is size: The trout can weigh as much as fifteen pounds; the bass can tip the scales at eight. "And we have two-pound bluegill," the real-life Carol Anne says. "Your chances of catching a huge fish here are wonderful." Of course, great fishing within casting distance of LoDo isn't free. The Bohns, who limit membership at their pond to 100, charge $500 per year to cast 'n' commute.

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