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Why Bowling Alleys Do Not Have Windows and Why They’re Bad for Business

Rental shoes are a must on most bowling alleys

When you walk into a bowling alley, chances are you won’t see any windows, and you might wonder why bowling alleys do not have windows. After all, most other places have windows to let in natural light and fresh air. Well, the answer has to do with the history of bowling alleys. 

Back when they were first invented, there was no such thing as electric lights or air conditioning, so people would bowl at night under the glow of gas lamps. Windows would have let in too much light and heat, making it difficult to keep the lanes properly lit and cooled. 

Nowadays, of course, electricity and air conditioning have made windows obsolete in bowling alleys – but many of them still don’t have them. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the more modern reasons bowling alleys carried on the nostalgic look of no windows.

Let’s jump in!

Why Bowling Alleys Do Not Have Windows?

A more modern reason bowling alleys don’t have windows is because of birthday parties. Not having windows contain noise levels within the alley, keeps outside noise outside, and keeps the temperature inside the lane consistent.

Sun glares are eliminated, which makes it difficult to see down the lane. Bowlers prefer to be in an environment where they can be emersed mentally. If you think about it, having windows in a bowling alley really serves zero purposes and is of no benefit to bowlers.

The soldiers have bowled three games

6 Reasons Why Bowling Alleys Don’t Have Windows

There are strategic and obvious reasons why bowling alleys don’t have windows. So, below, we give you the top 5 reasons in no certain order.

1. Windows Can Negatively Affect a Bowling Alley

When most people think about bowling, they picture a large room with shiny bowling lanes, colorful pins, and bright lights. However, the design of a bowling alley is actually quite complex, and even the smallest details can have a significant impact on gameplay. 

For example, bowling alleys don’t use windows to let in natural light during the day. This is because windows can cause problems when the sun is at the wrong angle. The glare can make it difficult for bowlers to see the pins, and the heat can make the lane surface more difficult to grip. 

Windows can as well let in drafts, which can affect the trajectory of the ball. Also, the reflections caused by the windows can distract bowlers. The sense of distraction can disrupt the concentration of bowlers. As a result, windows can actually negatively affect a bowling alley’s business by making it less enjoyable for customers.

2. Windows in a Bowling Alley Can Cause Inconsistent Lighting

Windows can provide a much-needed source of natural light in a bowling alley, but natural light doesn’t benefit the bowler. When the sun is shining directly into the windows, it can create a bright spot that makes it difficult to see the pins down the lane.

On the other hand, when the sun is not out or when the blinds are closed, the bowling alley can become too dark. As a result, because bowlers expect consistent lighting, bowlers may have to adjust their approach based on the conditions. 

Bowling alleys create their own controlled environments to help customers bowl without distractions. Windowless alleys allow you to bowl without worrying about the changing weather or the moving sun.

Weather changes can have a huge impact on lighting consistency. You can be hit by a ray and release the ball wrongly, leading to gutter balls and visual confusion.

3. Bowling Alleys Use Special Lighting

Most bowling alleys have special lighting at specific times. Cosmic Bowling requires darkness to get the full effect of its special lighting. The glow comes from the glow-in-the-dark bowling balls and pins, bowling lane animations, bowling shoes, and strobe lighting (disco balls). This is one reason why bowling alleys don’t have windows.

Windows are not good for cosmic bowling as they let in too much light, which can interfere with the cosmic effects. When there is too much light, the overall effect of Cosmic bowling is lessened. Alleys that have windows in the bar and food areas (snack bar) usually tint the windows or close the blinds or drapes over the windows so that bowlers can get the most out of their cosmic bowling experience.

Unless you’re a professional bowler, cosmic bowling is more about having fun than getting a perfect score. The setting must be darkened, and the music is turned up to create a party atmosphere.

Most bowlers like cosmic bowling

4. Thick Walls Without Windows Helps Limit Sound Distractions

Another reason why bowling alleys don’t have windows is that thick walls without windows help limit sound and eliminate distractions in a bowling alley. They help to reduce reverberation. Reverberation is when sound waves bounce off of hard surfaces and echo back to the listener. This can be extremely distracting, especially in a noisy environment like a bowling alley. 

By absorbing some of the sound energy, thick walls help to reduce reverberation and make it easier for bowlers to concentrate on their game. In addition, thick walls can also help to block out exterior noise, making it easier for bowlers to focus on their lane. As a result, thick walls are an important element in creating a focused and enjoyable bowling experience.

5. A Windowless Structure Allows Bowlers to Focus and Concentrate Better

When it comes to bowling, focus and concentration are key. Even the slightest distraction can throw off your game. That’s why many bowling alleys are windowless.

Bowlers prefer to practice in windowless structures. Without any external stimuli, they can focus solely on the striking. This allows them to fine-tune their technique and maintain their composure when it really counts. 

While some bowlers may find the lack of windows unsettling, others find it liberating. It’s a chance to escape from the outside world and clear their minds of all distractions. So next time you’re looking to start a bowling alley and make it a perfect place to bowl, consider a windowless structure. It just might help you improve your game.

The sun is shining very bright on the four lanes and the owner decided to replace windows.
National Photo Company, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons-

Are There Bowling Alleys That Have Windows?

Some newer or renovated facilities are built with large windows that offer natural light and views of the surrounding area. These windows are not always clear or, rather, are tinted to minimize distractions.

Dubbed the poshest lanes, with its smooth black, wintergreen, and royal purple decor, The Howard, with its historical status, is located in Oshkosh, WI. The windows are visible with flower curtain partisan, overlooking 10 coffee-stained lanes, and blinds can detract from the windows for full coverage or visibility.

Alleys with windows can provide a more pleasant experience for bowlers, and they can also be a great way to attract new customers. Windows offer a unique experience, as bowlers can enjoy the natural light and scenic views while they play. In some cases, the windows may even provide a helpful distraction from the challenging game.

In addition to providing better lighting, windows can also help to improve air quality by circulating fresh air. As a result, bowling alleys with windows may emerge as the new standard in the industry.

Playing area with 16 lanes with bowling pins, a bowling ball rolling along the lane, and colored bowling balls in the pit in the modern pin bowling alley

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Windows in bowling alleys would be a hazard because they could distract bowlers. They can also create glare and reflections that make it difficult to see the pins. In addition, windows would allow people outside of the bowling alley to look in and watch bowlers, which could disrupt their concentration.

Do you like bowling in a windowless alley or one with windows? Let us know what your taste is and why in the comment section below.