Palace Lanes is not Your Mom-and-Pop Bowling Alley Anymore!
The iconic and beloved Palace Lanes, a Bellaire-area staple built in 1955, where bowlers of all ages could enjoy a day or night out with friends and/or family for decades and where many teens and young adults took their first dates, closed in late October, 2016 after sixty years of memories. The property has gone unused … until now!
Beginning this summer, a new entertainment center is about to open in its place. Welcome Palace Social, a 27,000-square foot complex featuring an arcade, a laser tag arena, an E-sports lounge, a full-service bar, event spaces and bowling lanes. In addition to a 159-seat open area restaurant and lounge, Palace Social will be home to eight bowling lanes along with an extensive 3,900-square-foot arcade, 600 s.f. E-sports lounge, virtual-reality games, two multi-sport simulators, and three event rooms that can be configured into spaces equipped with oversized flatscreen TVs and karaoke systems.
The project found love from many of its local residents from the surrounding neighborhoods of Southside Place, West University, Bellaire, and Braes Heights as it went through several rounds of fundraising. These investors have a vested interest in a high-quality dining and entertainment concept in their own backyard. The venue—located at the new mixed-use destination Southside Commons, a Houston Business Journal Landmark Award and ULI-Houston Development of Distinction Award finalist—has already begun booking dozens of future meetings and events for groups ranging from university alumni organizations and area youth teams to doctors and nurses from the nearby Texas Medical Center.
The space has been thoroughly refashioned into a dining and entertainment concept designed for modern-day lifestyles, starting with the contemporary rustic interior by Houston-based Tramonte Design Studio in tandem with Gin Design Group along with retro-chic branding by acclaimed creative agency BLKBOX.
Billy Forney, Palace Social CEO, says “We’re excited to welcome guests of all ages to Palace Social, drawing on the memories of the past with a new vision of what a neighborhood entertainment concept can be. Our goal is to tap into the nostalgia that folks have for the former Palace Bowling Lanes with food, beverage, gaming, and entertainment offerings that resonate with today’s tastes. We fully intend for new memories to be made at Palace Social, which has been a true community-driven project.”
Another prominent name in the food and beverage development program at Palace Social features American fare created by consulting chef, Houston native and Culinary Institute graduate Ryan Hildebrand (of the famed Triniti, FM Kitchen and Bistro Provence restaurants), who crafted a Southern-inspired menu with a healthy twist designed for widespread appeal. Think: elevated entrees, comfort food, salads, burgers, flatbread pizzas, kids’ favorites, and a dedicated display dessert bar. The menu will be executed by Chef Efrain Villareal (Tony’s Mexican Kitchen). The restaurant will be open for lunch, brunch, and dinner with seasonal ingredients served up in a warm casual setting. The expansive bar and lounge will feature craft cocktails and classic favorites designed by Beverage Director and industry veteran Jennifer Caldwell (Goodnight Charlie’s) and a bevy of beers and wines on tap. A private dining room is also available for larger groups of up to 50 people.
It’s always a beautiful thing when creativity and preparation meet opportunity. Hopefully, sixty more years in this newly designed space will create special memories that will last a lifetime.