SpareMe bowling alley brings dining and entertainment to downtown

SpareMe — a bowling alley, arcade, and restaurant — opened in downtown Iowa City with University of Iowa students in mind.


Larry Phan

Bowlers celebrate in the bowling alley SpareMe on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021. (Larry Phan/The Daily Iowan)

Christine Valora, News Reporter

East College Street has a new attraction in the Chauncey building, SpareMe — an all-inclusive bowling, arcade, and restaurant experience — that welcomes collegiate and family fun.  

Jacob Larson, regional director of food and beverage for Hawkeye Hotels, said SpareMe has “something for everyone.” 

SpareMe has various versions of bowling to play — from the classic bowling game to mini-games that enhance the competitive spirit in a fun, relaxed atmosphere.  

The location also features arcade games, pinball machines, and skeeball rows. 

SpareMe has progressively opened with the integration of college life returning to Iowa City with a soft opening Aug. 17, Larson said. The vision of Marc Moen, a developer of the Chauncey building, was to have a mixed-used space attraction to the city and community.

SpareMe integrated itself as a business to Iowa City through a soft opening to provide customers with the smoothest experience possible — access to the bowling alley, arcade and other amenities, even if that meant bringing in a perfected version of a full food menu at a later date.

“SpareMe has done its part in bringing friends and family back together. I think the more people that come experience it, it’s going to become an Iowa City staple soon,” Samir Patel, senior development manager at Hawkeye Hotels, said.

The Chauncey building, which started construction in 2016, also houses FilmScene. Residential condos stretch for several floors above the commercial first floor.

“The theme behind the Chauncey building is to highlight arts and community,” said Patel. “Within the downtown community, this is something that’s unique and gives residents and students another outlet that they can go and enjoy.”

Now fully open, Larson said SpareMe’s full menu will be available in October. SpareMe’s Executive Chef Tim Spink will be leading the restaurant.  

Our cuisine is primarily American, from shareable classics like mozzarella sticks and pizza, to modernized fusion classics like falafel sliders and chipotle street tacos,” Larson said. 

The bowling alley also has a full bar with a wide selection of drinks.

SpareMe is making a point to hire from the student population of Iowa City, Larsen said. He said students will contribute a “great positive energy to our venue.”

Patel said the “American spirit” includes people that want to socialize and engage in places like SpareMe. 

“I think people, for the most part, are ready for that so we’re excited to offer a new type of activity and dining experience downtown,” Patel said.