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XXX Restricted Access @ MyQueenstown #3 - Former Queenstown Bowling Alley

By my queenstown on Sunday, October 10, 2010 with 5 comments

Queenstown Bowling Alley was officially opened in 1976. Situated at the heart of the estate which contained an emporium, 2 cinemas and other recreation facilities, it upped Queenstown's 'cool' factors by many notches. The 18-lane bowling alley was also a favourite among the young and the trendy in the estate as many residents would try their luck for strikes and turkeys.

Queenstown Bowling - the sign


When the "Queensway" and "Queenstown" cinemas ceased operations in 1999, the bowling alley and its "partner" Kentucky Fried Chicken hanged on for a couple of years before shutting their doors. The KFC closed in 2000 and the bowling alley followed them a few months later. A billiard and LAN gaming outlet took the place of the ground level cinema theatre. Unfortunately, diseconomies of scale had forced the billiard operator out of the building too.

Kentucky Fried Chicken Branch in Queenstown

Kentucky Fried Chicken was the first fastfood operator opening a branch in Queenstown and the only operator within "Queenstown central." Many residents believed that the fire, which broke out at Ridout Tea Garden or the Japanese Garden, was the main reason why it shifted to the second level of the Queenstown Bowling Alley.

Stairways leading to the KFC

The KFC branch at the cinema complex looked like any other branches in the 1980s and 1990s. The walls were plastered with many tiny tiles and the tables  was made of hard, concrete marble. It was not exactly a huge branch, but its location at the 2nd level of the complex allowed patrons a full view of the entire bowling alley.

Retrofitted seats at the KFC branch

Kentucky Fried Chicken, now known as KFC, had an old man known as Colonel Harland Sanders who was the founder. We are used to seeing "Chicky the chicken" as the mascot for the children today. In the 1980s, the old colonel statues stood outside its outlet. 

The Long "Sofa" Seats are popular among students

Customers get to see the full view of the bowling alley from the KFC

The KFC branch at Queenstown Japanese Garden was one of the first branches opened in Singapore, the first being the Somerset Road branch in 1977. Hence, the KFC branch did not open at the same time as the bowling alley. According to residents, it was launched at the cinema complex in 1980/1. Then, the KFC served rice and soup. They were accompanied with forks and spoons unlike the "finger lickin' good" motto they had today.

Internal Ventilation of the KFC

Bowlers and their friends could rest and enjoy a meal at the KFC by climbing this narrow flight of stairs. It was common for residents and patrons to sneak a fried chicken takeaway while waiting for their "turn" at the bowling alley.

A narrow flight of stairs connect the bowling alley to the KFC

Tenpin Bowling was initially confined to the private lanes of the American Club because it was a flourishing multimillion dollar industry which was popular among Americans. Singaporeans were provided with its first public bowling alley at Jackie's Bowl in 1965. As queues awaited outside the bowling alley, curious onlookers had "so much desire to get a touch of the new sport." That signalled the start of a bowling fever as bowling alleys sprouted all over the island. Queenstown caught the cold too.

The Bowling Alley Today

What's left of the bowling alley today are broken pieces of falling concrete and broken roof tiles. The corroded roofs of the complex enabled rainwater to splash into the compound. The rainwater was very much stagnated and it smelt awful to be in the complex. The gutters, the waxed wooden lanes, the scoring boards and the seats were removed totally.  

Book a Game!

Scoring boards and charts which was written manually in the 1970s, were replaced with monotonous electronic ones in the mid 1990s. And some residents remember fondly that there is a small chart indicating the rules of counting scores and the receptionist would give it to the patron when he or she asked for it.

Toilets at the Bowling Centre

Ticket of Queenstown Cinema contributed by reader, Audrey Chong

Noise and excitement used to fill the bowling centre when the pins were knocked over by the resin balls. What remained in this enclosed compound today was a disturbing echo as the correspondent flickered his camera and jotting down notes. 

Read also: 
Restricted Access @ MyQueenstown: Former Queenstown Cinema
Restricted Access @ MyQueenstown: Palace KTV

Have You Entered Alexandra Fire Station? Stay tuned for the two-part series next Sunday!

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Category: Places , recent , Restricted Access

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5 comments:

Anonymous said...
October 11, 2010 at 9:38 AM

such a waste that they left this big space empty all these years. Had they tried, and with ample parking space & MRT nearby, it could have been another heartland hangout join / makan paradise.....

Keep up the good works guys.

Jimmy

Anonymous said...
October 16, 2010 at 2:07 PM

Well done!

Anonymous said...
April 29, 2012 at 2:01 AM

There was another staircase to the 2nd floor. Fond memories of my family and friends after our kfc meal together and then leaving by the door at the second floor, where there there was a small shop selling kacang puteh and snacks for movie-goers

anonymous said...
November 29, 2014 at 7:03 PM

Such a pity....they could have re-renovate the cinema halls, add some popular shops like h&m or uniqlo, Add a fairprice xtra (or giant) and an arcade. Revive and revamp the bowling centre and the kfc and turn in into a mini sized mega mall. They did with the Jurong East Entertainment centre and turned it into jcube. Why not queenstown cinema?

Issy Lim said...
May 18, 2015 at 1:53 PM

Can enter or not?? Is it closed to the public now?

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