Getting Into the Game


Down here, a saying goes that “Life is more fun if you play games.” Fun. Remember that? When did we lose our sense of fun? No one need worry about that as New Orleans is made for getting back in touch with the pleasures of play for play’s sake. Let the games begin and, to paraphrase another New Orleans saying, “laissez le bons temps rouler” (let the good times roll).

Fulton Alley. They literally roll at Fulton Alley, which combines the cutting-edge with the old-fashioned with its craft food and drink and boutique bowling. Conveniently located by the river at the bottom of Poydras Street in a swinging entertainment strip, Fulton Alley offers chic and stylish bowling lanes along with a menu that goes far beyond the single-patty cheeseburger, coke, and fries I would order at the old and dusty El Camino Bowl in the tiny mall near my childhood home. At Fulton Alley, one can enjoy chicken and mushroom meat pies, gourmet deviled eggs, veggie jibarito, and for dessert, bacon praline bites.
Get back in touch with the pleasures of play for play’s sake
Fulton Alley is just the spot to do something different for the mere pleasure of it, a specialty of New Orleans. Friday and Saturday the pins fly until 2 A.M. TRAVELHOST expects few readers have ended their night with a few frames and a craft nightcap. Here is everyone’s chance because as making memories go, this one is a strike. The alley is within walking distance of most downtown hotels, as well.

Rock ‘n’ Bowl. One could make a night of entertainment and bowling by also hitting the city’s legendary Rock ‘n’ Bowl. This requires a cab ride but is worth every penny. The food and drink take visitors back to the El Camino, but here one gets frontline local music and one of the city’s biggest dance floors along with the lanes. The ambience is informal and friendly, and everyone is just supposed to have a fun time. Anyone not able to pick up that 7-10 split and make the spare can seek solace in the blues, Cajun, zydeco, swing, jazz, and more playing just steps away. 
In 1941 the bowling alley opened on the upstairs floor of a small strip mall in New Orleans’ Mid-City neighborhood under the name of “Mid-City Lanes.” Owner John Blancher purchased it in 1988, and a year later turned it into a live music venue, while keeping the bowling alley active. In 2009, Mid-City Lanes moved to a new location about 12 blocks riverwards from the old venue and today is known as the Rock ‘n’ Bowl since the new location is no longer within the boundaries of Mid-City. People with a taste for traditional New Orleans cooking should eat at the Ye Olde College Inn next door. Some of the best in the city.

Barcadia. This arcade speaks well for itself: “You work all day, pay bills, eat salads, and do all that other grown-up stuff; your “fun” shouldn’t be limited to trendy bars with long lines, dress codes, and drinks you can’t pronounce.” The inner child comes out to play at this stylish but downhome concept for pure play. The core is 80s arcade games, including Asteroids and Pac Man. For a quarter. But there is also air hockey, skeeball, pinball, and life-sized Jenga on the patio. The wait staff will keep the supply of perfect gaming grub coming. Award-winning gourmet burgers, tasty appetizers and salads, and almost 100 craft beers. 
Moreover, if you want to host your conference or convention here, Barcadia can do it. From corporate events to holiday and birthday parties, Barcadia has the space and numerous catering options. Also, packages can be custom tailored making them the perfect venue for your next luncheon, fundraiser, wedding reception/rehearsal dinner, launch party, sporting event, reunion, birthday party—the list goes on. From 25 to 500, Barcadia Bar and Grill and its Ohm Lounge are New Orleans’ most exciting venues and the perfect place to host corporate events or private parties.
“Fun” isn't limited to trendy bars with long lines and dress codes.

Harrah’s. Grown-ups have their games, too. As much adult gaming as anyone could want awaits at Harrah’s casino, just a block from Fulton Alley. The New Orleans location of this well-known casino chain is considered one of this company’s finest with dozens of tables for all kinds of wagering from low- to high-end. The theater offers top entertainers and nationally touring shows, the Masquerade bar is one of the city’s chicest dance spots, Manning’s is one of our best sports bars, and top New Orleans chefs such as John Besh operate fine dining establishments at Harrah’s. And, of course, fun always is to be had eating at the elaborate and plentiful buffet. So readers should hit Harrah’s casino to roll the dice with the good times. Here’s to coming up a winner!

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01 Nov 2015

By Dr. Lee Horvitz