Uptown Alley: Not Your Grandparents’ Bowling Alley

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By Marianne Weaver

If your recollection of a bowling alley is a warehouse of lanes and a limited grill menu with a handful of beer options, you haven’t visited the new Uptown Alley in the Manassas Mall. The 45,000-square-foot space offers bowling, bars, big screens, laser tag, video games, live bands and an extensive menu and cocktail list, which is served throughout the space by waiters and waitresses.

“The Manassas Mall, and the area of Manassas and Prince William County in general, have been entrenched by families with strong family bonds for some time,” said general manager Grayson Garbini. “We try to offer a little bit for every member of the family, while at the same time keeping with our own standards of excellence. We felt Manassas and Uptown Alley will benefit from each other, and while a part of the mall, we will become a median for family and friends gathering, live entertainment and all-around fun.”

The first Uptown Alley opened in Richmond, Va., in 2012. Since then, the chain has expanded to Surprise, Ariz., and Changzhou, China. In the coming year, Uptown Alleys will open in White Plains, NY, and Virginia Beach, Va. The Manassas location opened late last September.

“Each location is different depending on the area, space to work with and demand of the demographic,” noted Garbini, who said one of the unique aspects of the Manassas Uptown Alley is a dedicated group and party space. “We can host parties from 10 to 1,500. This will allow businesses and organizations to have meetings, team-building and business events and families and kids to celebrate special occasions, birthdays and sports competitions.”

Entertainment

Uptown Alley is located in a corner of Manassas Mall, next to the Autobahn Indoor Speedway, opposite Sears, but a short walk from Macy’s. The arcade, just inside the mall entrance, is filled with flashing lights and buzzing games.

“There are over 50 video and prize games, offering opportunities for everyone to challenge their skills and redeem points for great merchandise and prizes,” Garbini said. For something a little more active, he suggested guests try the two-level, state-of-the-art laser tag arena, which accommodates up to 24 players at a time. Sunday through Thursday, games are $7 each, two for $11 or $13 for three. Prices increase Friday and Saturday after 6 p.m.; $9 for one game, $14 for two and $19 for three.

Of course, he said, as the name implies, there is bowling. Lots of bowling: 24 regulation-sized lanes surrounded by a state-of-the-art scoring system and 10-by-15-foot projection screens. Shoe rental costs $4.50 per pair. Sunday through Thursday and Friday and Saturday before 6:00 p. m., games cost $5 per person. After 6 p.m., the rate increases to $50 per hour, and up to six people can play per lane.

The Ultra Lounge has a private 10-lane boutique bowling area, three billiards tables, comfortable sofa seating, and a lounge area for the ultimate party experience.

But that’s not all. “The Ultra Lounge has a private 10-lane boutique bowling area, three billiards tables, comfortable sofa seating, and a lounge area for the ultimate party experience,” Garbini said. There is live music on Fridays and Saturdays and Karaoke on Thursdays. With all of these great areas, Uptown Alley provides something for everyone to play and have fun.

Elaine Eubank of Manassas rang in the New Year at Uptown Alley. She and her friends were looking for something in Manassas, but not the usual bar routine. She said the price was right: $25 for two drinks, live band, bowling and laser tag.

“It was so much fun doing something versus just sitting with our friends,” she said. “The band far exceeded our expectations. We have lived in Manassas for over 25 years, and this was the best New Year’s Eve yet for fun and entertainment.”

Food and Drinks

Red Embers Bar & Grill is Uptown Alley’s full-service, casual dining restaurant featuring classic Americana cuisine. “We are proud of the food and culinary treats offered,” said Garbini. “Red Embers is definitely a focal point at Uptown Alley since so much of the social aspect and enjoyment of being with friends and family involves sharing great food.”

Red Embers offers seating for 200 made up of indoor and outdoor dining, including a spacious and expansive patio. The menu includes house specialty BBQ ($10), gourmet pizzas ($9- $11), a variety of burgers ($7-$14), and specialty sandwiches, such as Cali Chicken ($10), Bahn Mi ($11) and Philly cheesesteak ($12). Garbini said the top three items are pizza, wings and the southwest egg rolls ($8).

Two large bars serve signature drinks, specialty martinis, more than 24 handcrafted beers, 50 bourbons and a premium liquor selection. Every Friday and Saturday at 9:00 p. m., a variety of bands provide live entertainment.

“For the serious sports enthusiast, we have constructed the ultimate viewing opportunity,” noted Garbini. “Situated in an enveloping theater rotunda for sports viewing, with a larger-than-life, 15-by-20-foot projection screen and six 55-inch HDTVs, guests can enjoy signature libations and over 24 draft beers to feel as if they have ‘front row seats’ to the big game.”

Manassas resident Michelle Wolph noticed that something new was happening at Manassas Mall and visited Uptown Alley in November.

“They had an arcade, bar, bowling alley and restaurant,” she said. “That definitely drew me in. The food and service is excellent. The games are awesome and so is the music and bar. My recommendation to others visiting Uptown Alley would be just to go in and have fun and enjoy everything they have.”

Uptown Alley is located in the Manassas Mall, 8300 Sudley Road, Manassas. The website is uptownalleymanassas.com.

Marianne Weaver ([email protected]) is a freelance editor and writer. She earned a BA in English from the University of Pittsburgh and an MJ from Temple University.

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