Since greasing its first lane in 1958, Lariat Lanes has spent the past half century serving its community with family-friendly bowling and entertainment. Located just a short distance from downtown Minneapolis, the pin-punishing emporium touts a lineup of 12 ultrasleek lanes that lend their surfaces to leagues, parties, and daily sessions of open bowling. Memorabilia adorns the alley's walls to create a timeline of storied collectibles, including keepsakes signed by the Rolling Stones, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, and the Beastie Boys. In between evading gutters and matchbox cars using the lanes as a drag strip, guests can refuel with hot dogs, wings, and nachos at the restaurant or sip sodas and beers in the bar, where local sports games illuminate TV screens.
The bistro menu at Pinstripes can be served on the lanes and courts, in the dining room, or on the outdoor patio. Fill the first frame of your meal with a small plate such as the antipasto and cheese platter ($12). Pizzas such as the sweet and savory prosciutto fig flatbread ($12) arrive on wooden planks fresh from the wood-fire brick oven. An extensive wine list taps straight into Pinstripes' cavernous wine cellar. The candy-coated chocolate martini made with real Godiva chocolate ($9) is a perfect chaser for chocolaty house-made s'mores ($6). Pinstripes' Sunday- brunch spread includes a custom Bloody Mary bar and a magical chocolate fountain where strawberries and marshmallows bathe in nummy nectar (adults $22, kids $12).
Over the last 50 years, The Park Tavern has perfected the convivial trifecta of eating, drinking, and bowling. A menu of gourmet burgers and traditional pub fare mingles with a drink menu of domestic and imported beers and wines for between-frame refueling. On Mondays, the alley fills with high-energy tunes, and bowling balls careen all night during the $5 all-you-can-bowl nights. The Park Tavern rolls out its varied bowling buffets for corporate events, birthday parties, or the anniversary of the end of bowling prohibition during the Nixon administration.
Bowling is the great social equalizer—a common ground where grizzled undercover clowns, blue-collar English lords, LARPer librarians, big and tall lingerie models, hordes of hive-minded hipsters, and the other two social demographics that compose America can unite in the common cause of toppling a gaggle of stuck-up, inanimate wooden pins. Brunswick has been a household name in this egalitarian pastime almost since the beginning, with a company history that dates back to the 19th century, providing classic American good times to all manner of patrons across the country. And with today's Groupon tying the room together, you'll get to play two games (up to a $10 value) in its hallowed halls wearing a pair of freshly disinfected bowling shoes (up to a $4 value).
Apple Place Bowl plays its own symphony of crashing pins and percussive high-fives. On 24 AMF synthetic lanes, automatic scoring systems keep track of frames in lieu of abacuses, allowing free hands to cradle the adjacent Main Street Grill's half-pound burgers, buffalo-chicken wraps, and slices of pizza with custom toppings.
As enthusiastic ball throwers add to a soundtrack of toppling pins, Doyle's Bowling & Lounge quiets less-impressive stomach grumbles with its in-house café. Before settling in to a cozy blue chair for two games with three family members or friends, pick up a pair of shoes from the desk and celebrate your group's matching footwear with a quick song-and-soft-shoe routine. When efforts to zero in on strikes work up an appetite, the friendly staff at the Down in the Alley Cafe will happily supply some sustenance, adorning a 12-inch pie with a topping of your choice and pouring a pitcher of soda to whet parched whistles. Add luminescent or aural intrigue to games by coordinating your trip with Doyle's live music or your own live rendition of The Wizard of Oz.