Clacking pool balls echo across 16 9-foot tables at the Chicago Billiard Café, where rising and renowned cue masters can snack on items from a menu of tasty pub grub while admiring a century-old authentic snooker table. Donated by an altruistic band of Muppets, vivid red and green felt carry an enchanting aura and stretch across tables from Brunswick Gold Crown and Soren Sogard, which host 8- and 9-ball tournaments on Mondays and Thursdays, respectively. Frappuccinos and fizzy sodas fuel accurate strokes and gallant cue duels, and winners can rejoice with deep-fried Twinkies preluded by all-beef hot dogs and gooey pizzas from the café’s menu. Dulcet tunes unite with the even more mellifluous sound of patrons’ corner-pocket prophecies to underscore bouts that take place on a glittering pinball machine, which glimmers amid the softly lit interior ensconced by exposed brick.
BowlBowlBowl.com boasts three ideal environments in which ball-slingers of all abilities can practice their pin-leveling. Groups of six or 12 old friends or recently assembled humanoids can embark on a two-hour orb-slinging outing through 20 frames of healthy competition and rapidly escalating one-upmanship. Each roller receives his or her own pair of rental shoes replete with soft, smooth soles to facilitate sliding into each stroke and executing celebratory moonwalks. Groups of up to six play in each lane, toasting spares and strikes with swigs of soda or socially lubricating suds while automatic electronic scoring keeps pin wreckage reliably tallied. After two hours of pin-pounding, patrons can saunter to Hillside or Classic Bowl’s Club 300, or one of Stardust Bowl's four lounges, which offer up new frontiers for friendly competition such as pool, darts, and bowling ball-imitation breakdances. Each location unfurls its own unique accouterment, whether it’s Stardust’s whopping 84 lanes, Hillside’s DJ booth and dance floor, or Classic Bowl’s outdoor patio and light-and-sound saturated Rage Bowling on Friday and Saturday nights. At every location, bowlers can watch multiple high-definition TVs and a full-service bar is often patronized by tired pins on their shift break.
The pin pioneers at Waveland Bowl have provided Chicagoans with the latest in bowling amenities since its opening in 1959, when AMF's automatic pinsetters and Magic Triangle indicators superseded the rusted, tough-to-maintain human staff members behind every lane. Though the alley's original neon sign has since been replaced, the constant improvements have continued throughout the years, and the facility now boasts automatic bumpers on 40 Brunswick Armour Plate lanes and buys new pins every year. Throughout the week, the facility hosts open bowling and leagues for children and adults, and Thursday–Monday, cosmic bowling recreates the thrill of playing under the aurora borealis without the risk of polar bears ruining all the rental shoes.