Field Notes: Ladies Bowl Free

Field Notes explores Honolulu’s vibrant and varied scenes and subcultures. This month: Her Way Thursdays at Aiea Bowl.

photos: rae huo

What It Is

Part late-night bowling party, part nightclub, part would-be costume ball, with plenty of black lighting, disco lights and Top 40 hip-hop. Every Thursday. 99-115 Aiea Heights Dr.,

Who's There 

>> A few hundred patrons over the course of the night, some there to bowl, some just to hang out. Ladies bowl free, so lots of women show up, some in groups of 10 or more.

>> Seven security guards, confiscating fake IDs at the door and keeping an eye out for underage drinkers.

>> Two teenagers at the front desk, where the sign-up sheet for lanes and rental bowling shoes are kept.

>> Two FM radio personalities with cordless microphones, moonlighting as masters of ceremonies and striking a balance between, as one of them put it, “talking too much and being an afterthought.”

>> Four on-duty managers.

>> One off-duty manager, spinning digital turntables under the name DJ Taktik.

>> Three female bartenders and two cocktail waitresses, all dressed in sexy nurse costumes and known collectively as the Alley Cats.

>> Two line cooks and two dishwashers.

>> The owner, Glenn Uyeda, who sports a dyed-blond moptop and a chef’s smock (he’s also the Alley Restaurant’s executive chef).

>> Angela Uyeda, Glenn’s wife, who wears high-heels and a slinky party dress, and who oversees the entertainment and the Alley Cats.

>> Two mechanics, behind the scenes, keeping the pinsetting machines running.

Who’s not there: Kids, serious bowlers. The families and the leaguers clear out before 10 p.m.


Things That Get You Kicked Out

>> Passing drinks to minors. Drinking as a minor. Arguing with security. Double bowling (using two balls at once, one in each hand).


Evening Highlights

>> 10 p.m.—Angela begins taking group photos of the bowlers in each of the 24 lanes, which she will post on the Aiea Bowl website.

>> Midnight—Ten women participate in a scavenger hunt. Among the items they are sent in search of: lipstick or lip gloss, a pair of used chopsticks, an iPhone 5. The winner stands on a chair, has her picture taken by Angela and is presented with the prize, a pair of Oakley sunglasses. “And that’s not the swap meet version,” says an MC. “They’re the real deal.”

>> 2 a.m.—Closing time. The stragglers, 10 to 15 at most, leave the lanes.


What's Up with the Sexy Nurse Outfits?

Bowlers are encouraged to wear costumes, but rarely do, which leaves the dress-up to the Alley Cats. In addition to sexy nurses, regular ladies-night themes include: French maids, geishas, flight attendants and, simply, sexy swimsuits. The Alley Cats have 21 sets of costumes. Most are in a twice-a-year rotation, but some—such as sexy Santa’s helpers and Easter bunnies—appear only once a year, for obvious reasons.


The Story Behind the High-Heeled Bowling Shoes

Before Glenn and Angela Uyeda married, he asked her why she didn’t bowl. She said it was the shoes—they were too ugly. “I told him, ‘I would never wear those shoes,’” she says. “He actually went online and found a place that made high-heeled bowling shoes for me. I had to start bowling after that. Now I only bowl in heels.”