Across nearly three-fourths of the United States, AMF Bowling Co. reverberates year-round as families, friends, and competitors send bowling balls in search of upright pins careening down slick lanes. The company first established itself as an industry leader in 1946, the same year the sport introduced automated pinspotters.
Today, more than 20 million bowlers annually make AMF their battleground for wars against pins. As the largest owner and and operator of bowling centers in the US, AMF locations offer high-tech scoring technology, a classic design, and a menu stocked with American-inspired classics such as wings, pizzas, burgers, and beer.
At Crest Bowl, pins scatter across the gleaming hardwood of 32 bowling lanes equipped with up-to-date scoring equipment, lending a baritone rumble to a chorus of cheery shouts. Patrons lace up bowling shoes to improve smooth approaches and ward off sandal-model scouts. Mr. Karaoke conducts sing-alongs multiple nights a week, and cosmic bowling nights allow players to work toward a perfect game and experience the thrill of riding a comet amid upbeat music and the glow of laser lights. When three consecutive strikes put turkey on bowlers' minds, Brickhouse Pizza Company sates appetites with pizzas and sandwiches and fuels victory toasts with a full bar.
Before hosting moviegoers, the 111,000-square-foot Moolah Temple was home to a colony of pigeons. According to Amy Gill, co-head of the 1913-built temple's restoration team in 2003, the birds were "living in every crack and crevice" among debris, peeling paint, and cracked floors. Thanks to the team's refurbishing, leather couches and love seats, as well as balcony and stadium seating, now adorn the bird-free theater. Moolah Theatre only boasts a single screen, but what it lacks in quantity is made up for in size: its 20-by-45-foot screen showcases everything from the latest Hollywood releases to midnight movie staples such as The Big Lebowski.
Like "The Dude," Moolah Theatre celebrates bowling with eight lanes at its in-house retro alley. Post-flick fun can also include playing billiards, blasting tunes on the StarLink Internet Jukebox, or burping arcade games that ate too many quarters. Some lucky residents even call these amenities home—besides the theater and bowling alley, Moolah Temple makes room upstairs for 40 luxury lofts.
Nick's Pub keeps crowds of locals and nighttime revelers satisfied with a menu of hearty Irish-American pub fare and a menu of more than 90 beers on tap?many of which come from local brewers. Guests chow down on shepherd's pie, fish 'n' chips, or half-pound burgers as they sip craft beers. They can play friendly games of darts and pool, or they dance and laugh along to live musicians and open-mic comedy on Sunday nights. Nick's Pub is also smoke-friendly, though they don't allow cigars or scented cigarettes.
In 1999, Jimbo Sinovic opened the first Big Daddy's in the historic Soulard district, less than a half-mile from the iconic Anheuser-Busch Brewery. The eatery's drink specials and tasty pub staples?served for lunch, dinner, and late-night owl watching?established the bar as a neighborhood favorite and inspired its owner to declare it "The Best Bar in the Whole Wide World."
The Library's exposed-brick walls and low-hanging lights embody its chic, industrial décor, whereas pool tables and pub games fill the hall. Each weekend, a live DJ blasts hip beats and Top 40 hits to encourage rug-cutting, and more than 20 flat screens boast every NFL game on Sunday and footage of the owner's all-feline candid-camera show otherwise.