Lynnwood Bowl and Skate has sprung from a history so illustrious that the city of Lynnwood awarded its owners with a certificate officially recognizing its impact on local culture. That history began in 1956, when Lynnwood Lanes first opened. Two years later came Lynnwood Roll-A-Way, which was a separate endeavor until Lynnwood Bowl and Skate's current owners merged the businesses in 2006 with a major revamp. In August of that year, a renovation team resurfaced the lanes and roller rink, updated the computerized bowling system to accommodate the entirely new post-Y2K numeric system, and installed a glass door between the bowling alley and skating rink.
In addition to structural renovations, a fresh staff worked out the kinks that previously plagued the Bowl and Skate; they abolished leagues in lieu of exclusively open bowling hours and further diversified the center's activities by erecting the Asteroid climbing wall, a space-themed expanse of glowing handholds. Once visitors have exhausted their energy stores at the climbing wall, bowling lanes, or skating rink, they can gear up for round two at The Roll Bar, where cocktails flow alongside burgers and pizzas and skate-clad visitors flatten out too-thick crusts by rolling over them.
During the day, the space echoes with sounds like thunderclaps, but on weekend nights, black lights and thumping music move in and take over. It could be one of two things: a bowling alley or a rave on Mount Olympus. Spin Alley Bowling Center is the former?a playground for friendly competition, where mythology is made with every 7-10 split or series of strikes. This bowling alley features five big-box speakers and a large screen that broadcasts music videos, as well as a full bar and a restaurant that dishes out piping-hot pizzas. Every Friday and Saturday night, Spin Alley lets its hair down during cosmic bowling, a multisensual experience where sound, light, and fog add a festive element to the game.
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 comprise America can unite in common cause and topple 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 (a $3.79 value).
For the last 55 years, Kenmore Lanes has given locals a safe, family-friendly place to celebrate birthdays, engage in friendly competition, or just drop by for some pancakes and pin-demolition. Besides containing a whopping 50-lanes, and on-site pro shop, and a 20-game arcade, the alley also boasts a full-service restaurant serving everything from early bird breakfast specials to bleu cheese burgers. Meanwhile, in the 11th frame lounge, adults will find plenty of excuses to hang around well-after the last strike, including nightly bartender specials, dart boards, and a juke box. And, if they stick around, players can enjoy free games of pool every night from 10 p.m. to closing or until their mom comes to pick them up.
Though teams compete for a trophy at the end of the season, the Seattle Bocce League is rarely about the competition. In every game, players spend most of their time fraternizing with the enemy as well as their teammates, convening afterward at nearby bars to shake hands over exclusive drink specials. Open to participants of all ages and genders, the league centers on the ancient sport of bocce, in which athletes roll colorful balls toward a smaller sphere—the palina—attempting to land closer than their opponents. After the eight-week season crescendoes into a playoff round, every team gets a chance to clamor for the final prize package, which includes a trophy, gift certificates, concert tickets, and a 2-liter beer boot to use to celebrate the victory or wade through Germany's lager-filled swamps.
It would be inadequate to call Garage a bowling alley, even though bowlers roll strikes down its 20 lanes. It's also not just a pool hall, despite its 25 billiards tables, or a restaurant, even though Chef Garrett Michael Brown offers a menu with rustic pizzas and slow-roast pork ribs every night. Owners Jill Young-Rosenast and Alex Rosenast used their years of experience running venues such as RockCandy and Temple Billiards to create an all-inclusive playland for the 21-and-older crowd.
The Rosenasts carefully designed every inch of Garage's 40,000 square feet of space, an old Plymouth dealership and garage on Capitol Hill built in 1928. At first, it was primarily a pool hall, but it's been changing and expanding since day one. In addition to the fun inside, it now boasts a sprawling-but-stylish covered patio, complete with bar, so that there's no delay in dispatching cocktails and bottles from an extensive wine list. (In the winter, the space is heated.) Despite these changes, the original industrial vibe still permeates the decor. The Rosenasts filled the various spaces with high ceilings and exposed wooden trusses, which hang over accents of high-gloss automotive paint and '50s-style furniture.
Other areas seem more like art galleries. In the Echo Room—one of the Garage's private spaces—a 50-foot photo mural from photographer Nick Brandt depicts an elephant herd led by its matriarch, harkening back to a time before pachyderms came with GPS. Private events also fill the Star Lounge, which houses pool tables, six additional bowling lanes, and two of Jill's own art installations, including a display of dolls recovered from bombed factories in Eastern Bloc countries.