Wednesday, September 29, 2021

[STRIKE!] Knocked Down by Pandemic, Historic Funtime Bowl Closed Permanently in Brookhaven

A ToNeTo Atlanta reader recently alerted us to the closure of Funtime Bowl at Northeast Plaza.  The bowling alley, a mainstay in the Buford Highway shopping center since its debut in 1958, reportedly never reopened from what was meant to be a temporary pandemic closure.  A sibling location on Jonesboro Road in Forest Park remains open.  

At a time when "trendy" and entertainment bowling alleys like The Painted Pin, Bowlero and Stars & Strikes are all the rage, Funtime Bowl offered an accessible, affordable and convenient locale for intown bowlers (Midtown Bowl on Piedmont Circle is a great alternative) and it's sad to see it shutter.  

In November 2019, just a few short months before the COVID-19 pandemic would wreak havoc on the U.S., Reporter Newspapers had an extensive piece, "Old-school bowling rolls on at Funtime Bowl," that went into great detail about the alley's history, relevance and popularity.  In April 2020, owner Ellen Howard spoke with LGBTQ publication Project Q about her hesitancy to reopen.    

Northeast Plaza owner Brixmor is currently marketing the 22,733 square foot subterranean space for lease but does not indicate (in leasing materials) the status or condition of the twenty-four lane bowling alley.  

Opened in 1957, Northeast Plaza was originally anchored by O’Neil’s Bowlerama (the bowling alley's original name), Colonial Food Store, J.C. Penney Jr. Department Store, Kroger, and W.T. Grant, among others.  In the 90s, a Publix opened in the center, but by 2005 it had closed and was later replaced by a local international market, today operated under the City Farmers Market banner.  The center is today within the City of Brookhaven and is anchored by the farmers market along with a Goodwill thrift store, dd's Discounts, Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Aaron's, and NCG Cinemas, among others.  

In addition to Funtime Bowl, popular restaurant Panahar Bangladeshi Cuisine and locally owned Interfusion Fitness have both closed their doors at Northeast Plaza since the start of the pandemic.  

Are you surprised to see Funtime Bowl not reopen at Northeast Plaza?  What is your favorite bowling alley in metro Atlanta?  What would you like to see open in place of Funtime Bowl at Northeast Plaza?

Please share your thoughts below.


Ham said...

Is Northeast Plaza where Packet's Night Club was?

Elmer Veith said...

The bowling infrastructure was torn out. I saw ads several months ago selling off the alley material in chunks as has become the norm for closed bowling alleys.

Scrappycrow said...

As Elmer said above, it's been gutted. A friend recently posted on Facebook how he was "In Brookhaven buying these neato sections of a bowling alley they're demolishing..." and you guessed it -- it was this.

FWIW, I grew up in Brookhaven and bowled there as a kid in the '70s.

Scrappycrow said...

Ham, yes, Packets was there, at the other end. This was originally at the extreme right end when looking at the shopping center (but the center was extended later).

Unknown said...

It was May 15 when they sold the alley wood.

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