The Zvezdny Bowling Center is located in the center of Irkutsk, at Декабрьских Событий, 102/1, not far from the university. While my friends and I were just there for the bowling, there is also an attached movie theatre that looks clean, nice, and inexpensive. The bowling center is very clean and has the same interior décor to American-style bowling alleys.
One thing to note is that Russia uses European shoe sizes, which are different from American sizes. Many shoes will list all sizes inside them, so you might check your own shoes before heading out. If not, you’ll want to look it up online before going up to the counter.
The prices are charged by the hour, rather than by the game. One important thing to remember is that the prices vary depending on the day and time. Below is a table with the times and prices in rubles, and the estimated price at today’s exchange rate in dollars.
The atmosphere is very similar to most American bowling alleys and it seems popular with college students. It is not too loud and there is contemporary Russian music playing. Although I personally didn’t check anything, some people told me that after 10 pm, there is a long waiting time for the coat check, and sometimes the attendant will leave for over 30 minutes, so plan accordingly. There is a place to purchase snacks, but we went around 7 pm so we had already eaten and didn’t try anything. There is also an upstairs with a small café, but just by looking at it, it seemed more like a snack bar rather than a restaurant so I wouldn’t count on having a meal there.
Also just a funny thing I found was the bathrooms. All the stalls had giant photos of detectives or cameras which, I suppose is meant to be humorous by making guests feel “watched” – or maybe somehow meant to discourage vandalism?
There is also an option to sit in a VIP section, but it is very expensive and I didn’t see any people in that area. The price difference is 300 rubles more on weekdays and 400 on weekends. The major difference is that the area is blocked off from the rest of the bowling alley and it includes 2 liters of beer from the bar. In the evenings, there are colorful lights and graffiti type art projected onto the walls which make it more festive than during the unlit lunchtime hours, I have also heard that college students and young adults go in the evenings whereas the younger and older people go earlier in the day. Therefore, for college students, I would recommend going in the evening when there are more young people. Overall, it is a good way to hang out in a large group for not a lot of money.