Vintage east end Toronto bowling alley set to strike again

Photo:  Shamrock Bowl

Photo: Shamrock Bowl

Toronto's old-school bowling alleys have all but vanished — but one of the the city’s oldest and largest five-pin bowling alleys is set to strike once again.

The venerable Shamrock Bowl, an east end landmark near Coxwell and Gerrard, has been restored to its former glory and will welcome newcomers and bowling aces alike when it reopens on Feb. 28.

Originally opened in the early 1950s, the alley operated all the way through 2007 when ownership changed hands and it was given an extensive renovation in 2009, keeping much of the original fixtures and equipment. It closed for good in 2011 and has sat vacant ever since.

“A lot of our neighbours used to bowl here in the past, and they are excited about the re-opening,” says the Shamrock’s Meydge Anguiley. “We have many popping in their heads already as they are so excited. This venue brings back memories to them and our goal is to create new ones for the new generation.”

Spared from destruction, the Shamrock Bowl and Restobar — as it’s now called — has given the space a new lease on life with the look and feel of its old-fashioned days.

You won't find fancy equipment and computerized scoreboards beamed above your head. The alley features the same nostalgia-inducing mechanisms like manual pin-setting equipment and ball-retrieval machines. The original 12 wooden lanes have been reduced to eight.

“We did not destroy the other four lanes — they’re covered by our new restaurant,” Anguiley says. “It means a lot for us to preserve the only five-pin bowling alley remaining in Toronto.”

The Shamrock’s modern take will include a menu of European-inspired dishes as well as a fully stocked bar and, according to its website, the space will transform into a nightclub every Friday and Saturday night from 11 p.m. - 2:30 a.m.

An hour of bowling will run you $40 and is available Wednesdays-Sundays until 9 p.m. The Shamrock will also have pool and foosball tables and arcade games.

For more info, check out shamrockbowlandrestobar.com.