World Famous Rock'n'Bowl. That's where I was last night.
The first thing people usually ask about Rock'n'Bowl is, "Is it really a bowling alley?"
Yes, it is.
The next thing they ask is, "Do they really have live music?"
Yes, they do.
It usually takes a minute or so before the next question, but it finally comes. "Can you bowl while the band is playing?"
Located on the second floor of a strip shopping center on the corner of Carrollton and Tulane Avenues, Rock'n'Bowl is everything a New Orleans music club must be to thrive in this town: funky, funny, affordable, ecclectic and a little run down looking.
And what about the music? Last night was The Boogie Men, a horn-powered mega smash dance band that's been making a name for itself for I guess about a dozen years. You like it funky? They can do that. You like rock? They can do that too. The emphasis is always on the dancing, though, so no matter what era or style of music they're playing, the floor is filled with moving feet.
Since this was not a school night and the band started early, I took my daughter with me. Her primary observation: "It's LOUD!" Well, yeah, they do that too. We danced to a few tunes, and I'm sure she was very impressed with my moves that have not changed since the 80's.
As always, Owner John Blancher was there, meeting and greeting and genuinely enjoying things. He's the man who took the World-War-II era bowling alley and turned it into an internationally known icon by mixing pins and pop music.
John especially loves Elvis, and is known for hosting a birthday party for him each year and dressing up as the King himself. If you stay late enough, you might even catch John and the bar keepers hula-hooping to the music.
Rock'n'Bowl survived Hurricane Katrina and the flooding that filled Mid City unscathed since it's on the second floor. Still, getting the place back up and running in this decimated city was a feat for which you have to give John due credit.
My girl wanted to bowl, which is a unique experience there. When the band is playing, the house lights are dimmed. The pins glow in soft white light at the end of shadowy alleys. And you can't hear a pin drop because, as my girl noticed, "It's LOUD!"
We only bowled a few frames and didn't do a good job of keeping score, but somehow my daughter decided that she had 37 and I only had 22. We left near the end of the first set because it was after 10 and she's not usually up so late.
Ultimately, I think her favorite part of the outing was the Ms.PacMan machine. Nine years old and begging for quarters like a strung-out junkie, I guess that's what I once sounded like, too.
I took some photos with my cell phone and posted them here, but these lo-res images don't do it justice. The joint was jumping last night, you'll just have to take my word for it.
And, I'm sure my daughter would add, "It's LOUD!"