WellUrban

Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Beer & skittles


'The Lanes' bowling lounge under construction in Wakefield StThere has been talk for a while about a bowling alley planned for Wakefield St behind Courtenay Central. Well, it's finally happening, but not on the site of the open-air car yard: instead, it's next door on the ground floor of 234-238 Wakefield St, which until recently was home to another car dealership.

It's great to have some more activity in Wakefield St, and a bowling alley is something new for the inner city, but some of you may have been thinking, "Hmm, that sounds a bit too 'family friendly' for me". Au contraire! According to their website, The Lanes will be a "grown-up Bowling Lounge" serving "good wines, boutique beers and cocktails and café style food".

It remains to be seen whether it will end up quite as hip as it aims to be: I'm sure that Boss (yes, that's the current mystery bar) thinks that it's "urban cool" as well. But in any case, with 11 main lanes plus a four-lane "corporate box" on the mezzanine, when it opens in October it will certainly bring more life to the area than a car dealership. And anyway: it's a bar!

Overall, things are looking up for this section of the "Silver Mile". Not only has the new Mr Chan's supermarket opened up next door, but across the road Café Romeo has opened in the ground floor of what used to be Cash Converters. Okay, so a café in a real estate agent's is about as exciting as it sounds, but it's better than just having offices at street level. In fact, this building has become an excellent example of mixed use, with a café, showroom and gym at ground level, offices above, and short-stay apartments on the top floor. It's great to see the gap between the waterfront and the Golden Mile starting to fill in.

7 Comments:

At 2:30 PM, August 23, 2006, Blogger Jo Hubris said...

My friend in London has been raving about ALl Star Lanes lately - if The Lanes ends up being like that, I'd be tempted to go bowling. Plus not having to go out to the wop wops would be a plus. Now all we need is mini golf-with-a-bar on the waterfront...

 
At 2:50 PM, August 23, 2006, Anonymous Simon said...

Nice Jo, I would love to see a roof-top mini golf extravaganza....

 
At 5:32 PM, August 23, 2006, Blogger Maximus said...

isn't mini-golf very sort of 1972-ish ? i think that was the last time i played it. it was very hip then... a more modern update might be a driving range, wacking balls into the harbour off the roof... (over Te Papa...?)

 
At 10:21 PM, August 23, 2006, Anonymous CM said...

Hi Tom,

Someone beat me too it, there's another highbrow bowling alley place in London too: http://www.bloomsburybowling.com/ - in the same area no less.

It'll probably be a fad, but will add a different element for a couple of years, and save inner city people using their cars to get to suburban bowling alleys if they ever go.

Speaking of minigolf, Queenstown have possibly the best minigolf ever, it's all mechanised and incredibly tacky, like in the Simpsons - Wellington appreciates kitsch and camp I'd have thought, so that might be another leisure activity to have.

Tom, you ever going to do a special post on attracting tourism to Wellington?

 
At 10:04 AM, August 24, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

> Tom, you ever going to do a special post on attracting tourism to Wellington?

I've been thinking about it, but I don't know a huge amount about the subject. Looks like Air NZ and Wellington Airport are doing their best to stuff it up for us, though.

 
At 12:32 AM, August 25, 2006, Anonymous deepred said...

There's also going to be another bowling alley at the proposed ice rink in Newtown. Speaking of which, anyone for ice hockey?

Wellington certainly doesn't need another AirNZ-WIAL spat. If AirNZ isn't interested in WLG as a global hub, hopefully other airlines will. At the end of the day, a world-class runway would be good but horribly expensive.

 
At 2:49 PM, August 25, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Yes, I'd forgotten that the Fire & Ice centre in Mt Cook/Newtown is supposed to have a bowling alley. Maybe it will be a bit more family-oriented, so it won't compete with The Lanes. Perhaps they should build the ice rink next door on Wakefield St, creating a "super hub" of entertainment half a block from the Courtenay Place bus stops.

It looks like Wellington is really at a crossroads in terms of international transport infrastructure. Both the airport and CentrePort could lose a huge amount of business if we're not careful. On the other hand, a revamped airport with 787 connections to the rest of the world could be a massive boost for business and tourism.

 

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