Saturday, April 13, 2013

King's Bowl on I-Drive delivers the goods (review and photos)

I was invited to a media preview of King's Bowl this week. It opens to the public on Monday, and I think the public will like it.

The location on International Drive is right next to Ripley's Believe it or Not, and right next to the upcoming home of I-Drive Live (giant Ferris wheel, Madame Tussaud's wax museum, aquarium). That's prime real estate for tourists.

And yet they are targeting locals. There will be leagues at this one, and the prices are in line with what locals would pay: $6/game for the first game, $5/game after that.

The food here is of high quality, with a twist to almost every dish. The sliders caught my eye (well, my taste buds) the most, with a zing I couldn't quite place (powdered red pepper sprinkled on before grilling?) The fried chicken with ponzu sauce was a treat I should try to replicate on my own.

The signature drinks are mostly of the sweet variety, with the standout star clearly the fizzy lifting drink (remember Wonka?) that tasted for all the world like a liquid version of a grape popsicle. With alcohol in it.

The bowling is more than adequate. Unlike Splitsville, which suffers from being shoehorned into the space, here the run-up/approach to the lanes is standard and not shortened. Whew. That makes a huge difference. The lights are subdued and there's almost a Cosmic Bowling look to the place. But it combines with the 60s-era nostalgia vibe pretty well.

There are other things to explore here: an outdoor (covered) bocce court, several pool tables, and a separate restaurant that includes tables where you tap your own beer right at the table (an odd kind of thrill; and you can reserve these tables in advance by calling in!)

The bar section is plastered with giant screens and monitors, and there is a ticker tape crawl of news from the sporting world. Should be pretty easy to keep up with sports in this place.

In all, King's Bowl delivers. As locals, we will definitely be back. And I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to visiting tourists, either.

Kevin Yee is the author of numerous independent Disney books, including the popular Walt Disney World Earbook series and Walt Disney World Hidden History.