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.
The rolling thunderclaps of scattering pins fill the air at Imperial Bowl, where sphere flingers hunt strikes and spares across 30 lanes set in an ultraclean, modern facility. As bowlers attempt to stay out of the gutter like a renegade raindrop, automated scorekeeping charts the current pin count, displaying all scores on a digital screen. Imperial Bowl complements its slick lanes with entertaining extras, including arcade games, pool tables, and cosmic bowling. The alleyway also hosts leagues for casual and serious competitors alike, and a full-service bar and concession area ensures ball-free hands remain filled with beers, sodas, and snacks.
At Shrewsbury Lanes, 10 white appendages await punishment from careening spheres at the end of 24 polished alleys. Automatic scoring screens keep count at every lane so that rollers can concentrate on picking up seven-ten splits, savoring hot eats from the snack counter, and grabbing cold beers or daily happy hour cocktails from No Bul's Bar. During birthday packages, revelers can bounce between bowling alleys and party rooms, which are stocked with hot dogs, drinks, and chips. Shrewsbury Lanes also hosts leagues for bowlers who enjoy more serious competition or nostalgic adults who were raised inside trophy cases. The roar of ransacked pins echoes throughout the facility until 11 p.m. on weekdays and 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Towering alongside Clayton Road, the Tropicana Lanes sign has a vintage, weather-beaten look acquired after more than 50 years of welcoming visitors. Three generations of Richmond Heights bowlers have ventured into the facility during this time, scattering pins across the same 52 lanes that have hosted the nationally televised Professional Bowlers Tour. Owner and PBA Hall of Fame inductee Ray Bluth oversees the day-to-day operations of the alley—which, despite its retro disposition, sports modern extras such as automatic scoring and singing shoelaces. Between frames, bowlers can kick back inside the cocktail lounge, play pool in the game room, or munch on wings, nachos, and hot dogs from the snack bar.
With dozens of lanes that boast auto-scoring capabilities and plenty of on-site amenities, the St. Clair and Bel-Air bowling centers set the standard for high-tech bowling. With feet comfortably ensnared inside a pair of bowling shoes, bowlers will be able to topple phalanxes of uppity pins with the perfect fusion of style, power, and grace—dazzling onlookers with the flashy footwork and skillful tosses of ice-skating pizza makers. To prevent premature conclusions to a night of merrymaking, 10 arcade tokens will extend the entertainment past your double bout of ball-hurling. At St. Clair, bowlers can select from 50 different lanes, and the Bel-Air facility is permeated with free Internet beams that can only be perceived by WiFi-enabled computers and tinfoil-hat-enabled heads. Food and beverages are available at both locations.
Every Friday night, hip-hop, rock, and dance music pulsates throughout Show Me Lanes. The commanding soundtrack signals the beginning of cosmic bowling, whose games unfold amidst clouds of fog and rays of black- and laser-lights. During cosmic and regular games alike, balls hurtle down 24 lanes each equipped with automated scoring. Besides daily open-bowl sessions, Show Me Lanes hosts tournaments and leagues for adults and children. Cosmic bowling hours are Fridays from 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. year round, with additional Friday summer hours from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.