DiscoverSYR: Flamingo Bowl

Flamingo Bowl in Liverpool offers $1 games and plenty of fluorescent glory.

By Angela Hu

Other than the autumn-colored foliage that overcrowds motorists on Interstate 81 North, the drive to Flamingo Bowl in Liverpool, N.Y., offers little in terms of scenery.

Like a hidden sanctuary at the end of a path, Flamingo Bowl is a secret cove—with a giant, blinking, neon-red flamingo. Its unlikely locale—right off the highway—doesn’t scream “front-runner,” but this bowling alley was voted the best bowling center in Syracuse five years in a row by the Syracuse New Times.

Even on a Tuesday night, Flamingo Bowl bustled with activity. Music and laughter reverberated through the alley as family and friends tried to outscore each other. At first glance, the bowling alley appears stuck in the 80s: swirls of bright purple, orange, and pink span the walls, color-blocked tiles line the carpeted floors, and fluorescent light bounces off the bowling pins like a never-ending disco ball.

A giant sign that reads “Cosmic Bowling” hangs in the middle of the room, while a rambunctious crowd trails around the snack bar for $1 hot dogs, pizza, and hamburgers (Tuesday and Wednesday nights only, mind you).

Even with the Cabbage Patch vibe, there’s something endearing about Flamingo Bowl. The place, along with the people, has somehow captured a snapshot of the past. The quaint location, with the multicolored decorations, brings me back to my third grade Charlie Chaplin-themed birthday party—braces, headgear, top hat, and all.

A normal weekday night usually means Arrested Development reruns and stuffing my face with grapes, but Flamingo Bowl is a fun and cheap alternative with its state-of-the-art flat-screen monitors.

The $1 lanes mean you can treat some friends and still afford that Netflix bill. For the athletically-impaired who can’t throw a ball down a lane (i.e., me), a full-service bar in the back helps you forget any cringe-worthy moments. If God forbid you can’t miss Glee on Tuesdays, then head to Flamingo Bowl on Wednesday for cosmic bowling when those sneaky black lights turn on after hours and bowling fiestas ensue.

Maybe bowling is tacky and maybe the 80s make you want to throw up, but you could do worse for yourself than strut home in a pair of lightly-worn fluorescent bowling shoes.

Photography by Megan O'Malley

7239 Oswego Rd., Liverpool, N.Y. 315.457.7470