Got turned on to this sort of secret bowling alley from an expat bowling league and thought I would pay it forward in case any of you fine folks are looking to GET YOUR BOWL ON.
Here's the East Gate Plaza Bowling Club. It's a real beaut, I tells ya!
It's twenty lanes of ten-pin bowling in the basement of the East Gate Plaza, which is on Dongzhong Jie -- the street between Ginza Mall and Sky Plaza, across from Guomen Mall at Dongzhimen. If you're taking the subway, that's Exit C at Dongzhimen Station.
So, you're walking down Dongzhong Jie, away from Dongzhimen, passing Sky Plaza on your left and Ginza Mall on your right. Incidentally, one of the world's most depressing arcades is in the basement of Sky Plaza. If you were ever wondering what happened to all the 12-year-old kids that used to play Street Fighter religiously, they turned 50 and now they're at a place called "Happy Ocean", chain smoking, drinking ice tea, and never giving up the dream. Hadouken!
Anyways, go down Dongzhong Jie. If you see this gold chrome monster, you're in the right area:
And East Gate Plaza is this one, about 200 meters down.
Bowling alley is in the basement. Find some stairs and head down. Here's the entrance.
The basement is actually kind of an athletics facility for the serviced apartments upstairs. In addition to the bowling club, there's an in-door basketball court, swimming pool, and some squash courts. I don't know the deeeets on those though. My theory of sports is that you should be able to participate and perform for the duration of the event, whilst never ever having to set your beer down. Bowling. Curling. Um… Bird Watching. These are my games. You can't really do them "well" while holding a beer the whole time but that's the challenge of it. That's where the "athleticism" comes into play.
But bowling is really more about the zen of it, my friends -- the serenity of slick and pristine hardwoods lanes and the euphoria of a marble ball mowing down all ten pins.
The Logistics: The Club is open from 7am to midnight, daily, with a pricing system based around the peak hours of the venue. It's actually pretty intense: 15rmb per game, Monday to Friday from 7am to 5pm, and 30rmb per game on weekdays between 5pm and midnight, and on Saturday and Sunday, and holidays. You can also rent the alley for an extended period for 200rmb on all weekday hours and 300rmb on all weekend hours and holidays.
And then on top of that, they have lots of membership options as well. A "Gold Card" is 600 games to be played in the period of 9 months, at a cost of 4,800rmb. They've also got a "Noon Practice" card -- 120rmb for 30 games to be played in a month between the hours of 11am to 2pm.
Sounds pretty rad, eh? Throw some rocks during lunch hour, eh?
But, yeah, prices... just go down with a few red ones and you should be fine.
Along with the lane, they also provide bowling shoes, which are actually in pretty great shape, and come with these little white sock net things that are basically hairnets for your feet. (!)
They also have a real great range of sizes as well -- including half-sizes -- so even if you have little, tiny girly-girl feet or big, fat-man cracker feet, you should be alright.
And they provide the balls too, of course, which come in a range of sizes and colors... red, green, yellow, pink, orange...
...and... wait for it... BLUE BALLS. Pa-dow!
Yes, this is all well and good but what about the booze: They've got a fridge. It has cans of Beijing Beer. They cost 10rmb and are somewhat cold.
BUT you can bring you own booze. There is a convenience store right across the street from the East Gate Plaza. Therein, ye shall find the booze ye seek, young traveler.
Over the line, Smokey!
Here's the address information for East Gate Plaza Bowling Club.