When Allen Branch was a kid, he spent countless evenings at the Coronado Lanes.
Santa Fe’s best-known bowling alley was a hot spot through Branch’s teenage years and was one of the first places in the city to offer video games. Opened in the 1950s and closed in the 1980s, the alley then sat vacant for years until it was redeveloped into a shopping center on Cordova Road, where the Santa Fe Baking Co. is located.
Now, Branch is excited that bowling will return to Santa Fe — as Ringside Bowl Bar & Grub, a lounge-style venue with a video-game arcade and eight-lane bowling facility on the top floor of a building in the Santa Fe Railyard. Branch says the new 20,000-square-foot entertainment business also will feature food reminiscent of what was served at the Estrada Room, a dark, smoky annex to the old bowling alley.
“It was a big hangout,” said Branch, who recalled hanging out with his mother for league bowling events, as well as meeting with friends to play Donkey Kong in Coronado’s heyday. “And now bowling is coming back,” he said. “They are called bowling lounges. It’s not bowling alleys anymore. There are not 100 lanes. There are eight lanes. The food is upscale. It’s really a different vibe.”
Gary and Eve Skidmore, who own Holiday Bowl and Leisure Bowl in Albuquerque, will run Ringside as their third venue, said Branch, principal partner in Railyard Co. LLC, the developer of the Railyard’s Market Station. The bowling lounge will be located on the south end of Market Station, above the Flying Star restaurant. The city of Santa Fe recently purchased the rest of the building’s second story and plans to use it for offices.
“We’re excited to bring back bowling to Santa Fe,” Gary Skidmore said in a statement released last week. “Santa Fe has a long tradition of bowling going all the way back to the 1950s. We feel there is a big need for a place that families, teams and the whole community can again unite and celebrate fun together.”
Skidmore wasn’t immediately available for an interview.
An application for a building permit is pending city approval. The bowling lounge is scheduled to open on the first weekend in May, Branch said.
While perhaps the most famous bowling alley in the city, Coronado wasn’t the first. A six-lane alley called Zia Lanes was open in the late 1930s on Marcy Street. Santa Fe’s last bowling alley was Silva Lanes on Cerrillos Road, which shuttered in 2008, when Art Silva said it was no longer profitable. Silva Lanes, which is still vacant, was originally called BG’s Kiva Lanes, named for Bill Grandstaff, also founder of Coronado Lanes. For now, the closest place to bowl near Santa Fe is the Strike Gold Lanes in Pojoaque.
Contact Julie Ann Grimm at 986-3017 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @julieanngrimm.