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latest in bowling amenities since its opening in 1959, when AMF's automatic pinsetters and Magic Triangle indicators superseded the rusted, tough-to-maintain human staff members behind every lane.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.
From the vintage Schlitz logo on the building's brick façade to the pinsetters scuttling about to manually clear and upright pins, Southport Lanes & Billiards embraces yesteryear's leisure sports with authentic charm. The bowling area, which is one of only 10 hand-set alleys left in the country, bears pencil-and-paper scorecards with the safety precautions: "If you see legs, don't bowl!" and "Don't take a nap on the lanes!" Green-felted billiards tables may be reserved by the hour, during which cues wage their one-sided war against a rack of colored balls. Above the long wooden bar, vintage paintings mix with flat-screen TVs illuminating half-pound Angus burgers, sandwiches, and salads, as well as draft and bottled beers, tallboys, and wine by the glass or barrel.
If you've been bowling in Chicago, chances are pretty good you've been to a Chicagoland Bowling establishment. With member centers from the north to the south, the organization connects pin destroyers all over the city. The advantages of this network include tournaments that span the entire region, scholarship programs for talented youth bowlers, and a cornucopia of options for clowns who juggle bowling pins.
With colorful laser-light shows and music that permeates the space, Diversey River Bowl has the potential to transform into more of a concert venue than a bowling alley. And that?s entirely intentional. Groups of families and friends toss bowling balls down glowing blacklit lanes, erupting into rounds of high-fives after pins clatter to the floor. And to ensure kids' bowling balls connect with pins every time, the staff stuffs the gutters with bumpers and pillows and the balls with advanced GPS systems.
In the onsite DRB's Pizzeria?which encompasses a dedicated seating area with flat-screen televisions, plush leather booths, and eye-catching exposed brick?a crowd gathers around the karaoke machine as the chords to ?I Love Rock 'n' Roll? back up amateur vocals. Nearby, darts fly into an electronic dartboard, and a congratulatory ring sounds, as spectators indulge in pizza, pasta, and burgers.
From bar crawls to street festivals, there's plenty of ways to meet new people in the city. There's also plenty of ways to get exercise, such as jogging along the waterfront or scaling a skyscraper in a gorilla costume. Cities and Sports brings both worlds together through seasonal sports leagues that are as much about winning and getting exercise as they are about socializing and having fun. After the games, players can hang out with their team members and meet new people at the league sponsor bar. During warmer months, the company organizes leagues at local parks and beaches for weekly rounds of softball, kickball, and volleyball. Then, when winter rolls around, it moves its operation indoors for properly sheltered sessions of dodge ball, volleyball, bowling, and basketball.
A blazing neon bowling-pin sign calls passersby into the crimson-and-cream façade of Fireside Bowl, drawing them back through time into the '40s, when the alley was opened. Gleaming spheres devastate their wooden foes beneath brilliant wall murals and vintage accents, and a pool table and selection of turn-of-the-century video games captivate between frames aided by electronic scoring systems and pins set upright by very strong squirrels. Revelry revives itself in the low light of a vintage-style lounge, where suds flow smoothly into pints that glide along a gleaming bar. The guttural roar of stressed guitar strings sings out during occasional rock and punk shows at the alley, where league rollers build prowess alongside casual players on the shining hardwood.