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Leslie Bridgers

After a decade reporting on the news of Portland's suburbs, Leslie is excited to let loose on MaineToday, where the scoops are more ice cream, less scandal -- much like her life. After hours, you can find her reluctantly covering right field for the company softball team, bowling a straight ball at Bayside or wandering down from Munjoy Hill in search of food and drink.

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Posted: November 2, 2016

Candlepin bowling to make a comeback in Westbrook

Written by: Leslie Bridgers
The 14 candlepin lanes use new technology developed by owner Tod Lyter.

The 14 candlepin lanes use new technology developed by owner Tod Lyter. Photos by Leslie Bridgers

A new candlepin bowling alley has opened in Westbrook — but it might be a while before you can start racking up spares.

Tweaks are still being made to the lanes, which feature a new kind of pinsetter that eliminates the need for a sweeper and instead uses a pin deck that flips up and dumps the pins backward. But there are other reasons to pay a visit to the Prides Corner venue.

Called 33 Elmwood, which is also the address, the alley has four Astroturf bocce courts, a full bar and a restaurant with a menu that ranges from pizza and hot dogs to seared scallops and Brussels sprouts with a balsamic glaze. A second bar and lounge area is planned, as well as an outdoor space.

It’s much more common these days to hear about candlepin bowling alleys shutting their doors than opening them, as was the case across town about six months ago, when Colonial Bowling Center closed.

Although the lanes weren’t quite ready, 33 Elmwood opened Saturday for people interested in playing bocce, visiting the bar or having a meal.

The alley also has four Astroturf bocce courts.

The alley also has four Astroturf bocce courts.

Jackie Hersey, the alley’s marketing coordinator, said it’s unclear when bowling will begin, because the technology is so new.

The alley will also serve as a showroom for the pinsetters, said owner Tod Lyter, who plans to manufacture and sell them. The Westbrook lanes will give potential buyers the opportunity to come watch how they work.

The venue, which was most recently a flea market, had been a bowling alley in the past, but Lyter wanted it to have a more sophisticated feel than the typical candlepin place.

Some of the finer touches include a glass display case filled with wine and vintage-looking handpainted signs advertising bowling games for $6 a piece or $15 for three. Bocce costs $5 an hour — pretty cheap, as long as you don’t order the seared scallops.

CORRECTION: This story was updated at 1 p.m. on Nov. 7 to correct the bowling alley’s hours of operation and reflect the fact that it is not yet open for bowling.


WHAT: 33 Elmwood

WHERE: 33 Elmwood Ave., Westbrook; 536-7061,

WHEN: 4-10 p.m. Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday; 4-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday

HOW MUCH: $6 for one and $15 for three candlepin bowling games, $5 an hour for bocce

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