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, which allowed the teens who had previously been hand-setting the pins to focus on perfecting their jazz hands for upcoming street rumbles.
Today, more than 20 million bowlers annually make AMF their battleground for wars against pins. They attempt to knock them down during leagues, club play, and events such as birthday parties and fundraisers. The largest owner 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.
With a diverse clientele, hearty pub eats, and a broad selection of spirits and beers, "Scoundrels always feels alive," according to Patrick Mayock of Metromix Cleveland. While bartenders keep the libations flowing, cooks smoke slabs of ribs in-house, grill half-pound burgers, and bake pizzas in a brick oven. And nearly 20 sandwiches crowd the menu. Outside, the umbrella-covered patio makes for serene dining on a warm summer’s eve. But patrons can get rowdy inside by dancing to the beats of live bands, taking the stage themselves to sing classic karaoke songs, or acting like a bull in a straitjacket.
A lengthy lineup of traditional game-day fare and a sports atmosphere captivate fans at Fox and Hound - Bailey's, where the kitchen remains open as late as its neighboring fully stocked bar. Chefs cook until the wee hours of the morning and always until the bar closes, baking Bavarian pretzel starters, crafting towers of onion rings, and preparing hand-battered chicken tenders that are cooked until they are golden brown. They blend their own seasonings to sprinkle over grilled-to-order burgers, and draw from a diverse roster of cheeses and toppings to crown their wood-oven-inspired flatbreads.
While manning the bars, bartenders tap into a stash of libations, such as UV Whipped vodka and Patron Silver tequila, to mix their specialty cocktails. To further foster a sporting ambiance, high-definition TVs glow with sports games and custom music-video playlists, and guests partake in pastimes of ump bashing, billiards, or competitive people watching.
Babe's Sports Grille offers a rollicking combination of sports-bar charm and nightlife options, with live music on the weekends, a breezy outdoor patio, and hearty eats. Eyes hustle across the menu and into the defensive line of hefty appetizers, including sautéed Cajun shrimp salad ($8) and Babe's famous wings, accompanied by one of seven sauce options such as garlic-parmesan or barbecue ($7.50 for a dozen). Guests can sink baying canine teeth into a 14-ounce strip steak, served with garlic bread ($14), or pop breaded shrimp, fries, and coleslaw into gaping maws ($8). Specialty pizzas harbor time-tested culinary combinations such as the barbecue chicken ($10) and the four-meat Italian Feast ($14), and Babe’s make-your-own pies ($9+) challenge patrons to elect their own toppings, like bite-sized state senators. Fridays and Saturdays showcase the stylings of DJs and die-hard dancers, proving that, when performed correctly, modern dance can be considered a sport.
A firehouse-themed sports bar, Memphis Station offers tasty bar eats and a lengthy list of bottled and draft beer in a friendly neighborhood setting. A cast of signature homemade burgers, the undisputed stars of the menu, includes several options that arrive at the table slathered with cheese, layered with bacon, and loaded with Jack-in-the-box-puppets that spring down amused esophagi on first bite. The Hook and Ladder is treated with crumbled bleu cheese, bacon, pickles, an onion ring, and barbecue sauce ($8.50), and the Five Alarm melds pepper jack, jalapeño, spicy mayo, salsa, and hot sauce with cool ranch for dipping ($8.50). Patrons with daintier appetites can nibble basket appetizers while they play Picture Hunter or watch NFL Sunday Ticket on one of four flat-screen TVs. Adrift in a starchy potato-skin boat laden with cheddar, bacon, and sour cream ($7), eager eaters can sail to Asia with panko-breaded shrimp ($7), down to Baja with cheddar jalapeño quesadillas ($6.50), or off to the Emerald City by simply following the yellow brick road.