Germany’s Retro Bowling Alleys Look Like They’re Straight Out of a Wes Anderson Film

Vintage Bowling Alleys Photos by Robert Götzfried

While many bowling alleys around the world are being constantly updated to suit modern strike-chasers, there are others that have been left as they were back when the recreational sport was at its most popular. Inspired by his childhood, photographer Robert Götzfried returned to southern Germany to document the many vintage bowling alleys (or Kegelbahnen in German) that are still functioning in all their retro glory.

Kegeln is pretty similar to bowling but with only nine pins, smaller balls, and shorter lanes. It used to be a big thing in Germany in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s,” explains Götzfried. “These days this sport is not ‘en vogue’ anymore and it seems that mostly older people go these ‘Kegelbahnen.’ ” Götzfried spent around two years searching his home country for the most interesting Kegelbahnen, resulting in a collection of photos that brilliantly pay homage to the target sport.

“When I was a kid in the early 1980s, it was a common thing to go ‘Kegeln’ with my parents and their friends,” Götzfried recalls. “These places are usually located in the basement of traditional German restaurants. The old ones used to smoke cigarettes and drink beer or wine while the kids were allowed to have lemonade as a special treat. This is what quality time looked like back then.”

Götzfried is known for his love of symmetry and perspective, which is a theme that’s present throughout many of his projects. His Bowling Alleys series is no exception, though it’s particularly visually satisfying as many of the photos look like a set from a Wes Anderson film. Featuring colorful bowling lanes, old score monitors, and vintage seating, each image captures the old-school charm of these fading arenas where communities once thrived.

Scroll down to check out Götzfried’s fascinating Bowling Alleys series. For more of his projects, you can visit his website.

Photographer Robert Götzfried's Bowling Alleys series documents the many vintage “Kegelbahnen” of south Germany.

Vintage Bowling Alleys Photos by Robert GötzfriedVintage Bowling Alleys Photos by Robert GötzfriedVintage Bowling Alleys Photos by Robert Götzfried

Many of these old-school sports houses are still functioning today, in all their retro glory.

Vintage Bowling Alleys Photos by Robert GötzfriedVintage Bowling Alleys Photos by Robert Götzfried

With perfect symmetry and muted colors, they look like typical, iconic sets you’d find in a Wes Anderson film.

Vintage Bowling Alleys Photos by Robert GötzfriedVintage Bowling Alleys Photos by Robert GötzfriedVintage Bowling Alleys Photos by Robert GötzfriedVintage Bowling Alleys Photos by Robert GötzfriedVintage Bowling Alleys Photos by Robert GötzfriedVintage Bowling Alleys Photos by Robert GötzfriedVintage Bowling Alleys Photos by Robert GötzfriedVintage Bowling Alleys Photos by Robert GötzfriedVintage Bowling Alleys Photos by Robert GötzfriedVintage Bowling Alleys Photos by Robert GötzfriedVintage Bowling Alleys Photos by Robert GötzfriedVintage Bowling Alleys Photos by Robert GötzfriedVintage Bowling Alleys Photos by Robert Götzfried

Robert Götzfried: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Behance

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Robert Götzfried.

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Emma Taggart

Emma Taggart is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Originally from Northern Ireland, she is an artist now based in Berlin. After graduating with a BA in Fashion and Textile Design in 2013, Emma decided to combine her love of art with her passion for writing. Emma has contributed to various art and culture publications, with an aim to promote and share the work of inspiring modern creatives. While she writes every day, she’s also devoted to her own creative outlet—Emma hand-draws illustrations and is currently learning 2D animation.

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