Classic game, gathering spot at L&M Lanes

05:00 AM, Jul 05, 2013

L&M Lanes on Merchants Road in Rochester./


Written By Pete Wayner

L&M Lanes

Address: 873 Merchants Road.
Hours: 4-11:30 p.m. Mon.-Thurs.; 4 p.m. -12:30 a.m. Fri.; noon- 12:30 a.m. Sat.; noon - 9:30 p.m. Sun.
For more: (585) 288 - 1210, lmlanes.com or search for L&M Lanes on Facebook.

Dave is a deep shade of red. Sheila is blue-green, with flecks of glitter. Dot, an Amflite, is black with swirls of orange. Over 120 bowling balls like these span the two floors of L&M Lanes bar and bowling alley.

You’ve got friends that aren’t good at baseball or hockey, they’re not going to play. But bowling — everybody seems to enjoy it, whether they’re good at it or not,” says Gary Stubbings, who co-owns L&M with his wife, Amy.

Stubbings was 5 years old when he first toddled into the alley he now owns. Back then, they didn’t have child-sized bowling shoes, so he and his younger sister just wore socks.

I fell and my sister quit on the spot,” he says

Thirty-four years later, Stubbings still hasn’t quit. When he was 15, he started working at the lanes, and kept on part time for years. Even back then, he said, he wanted to buy the place. When the last owners decided to sell, it never officially went on the market because they knew who to call.

Eighty percent of of the people that walk through that door every week, I know,” he says.

Gary’s brother Tom works the bar, hitting the notes of every country song that comes up on the jukebox. Another brother, Kevin, turns out batches of plump, crispy wings slathered in the house Buffalo garlic sauce. Wings are $9 per dozen.

In addition to $6 pitchers and $2 pints of Genny Light, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Rolling Rock, L&M has a wide selection of craft beers like Heavy Seas and Lagunitas.

A 10-foot walk from the bar transitions patrons from bar stools to bowling lanes with ruby red chairs, rose-colored tables and six bowling lanes constructed of maple and oak — a classic touch not widely available anymore. Games range from $2 to $3; shoe rentals are $2.50.

A photo of The Dude, Walter and Donny from The Big Lebowski hangs on the walls. Stubbings says a crowd of guys used to come in, drink white Russians and called each other “Walter,” “The Jesus,” etc.

This is one job that I don’t ever remember leaving at night thinking, ‘I don’t want to go back there tomorrow,’ ” says Stubbings. “I plan to be here another 30 years.”