Across nearly three-fourths of the United States, AMF Bowling Centers reverberate 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.
Between frames, AMF keeps players energized at onsite food zones stocked with wings, pizzas, burgers, and beer.
County Club Bowl has been hosting the pin-busters of Marin County since 1959, remaining a fixture of fun by maintaining amenities beyond bowling lanes. Bowlers can hurl their ammo down 40 automatically scored Brunswick lanes, including ones with optional bumpers that enable players to work all the angles against their cocky pin foes. Groups of four can vie for strike production supremacy or forge New Age scoring systems that award points based on the beauty of the pin formations left standing. Quench ball-hurling-generated thirst with two included pitchers of soda, or swing past in-house Villa York Pizza & Grill for specialty pies and subs. Bowlers can celebrate gutter evasion in the Candlestick Lounge, outfitted with a full bar and sports-blasting plasma TVs. Three billiard tables and an arcade room expand entertainment beyond the lanes.
Manor Bowl's 30 lanes have hosted rousing displays of tenpin pyrotechnics for half a century. Seven days a week, the alley's 60-foot lanes beckon pairs to slip into supportive, nonslippery bowling shoes for two rounds of hurling globes like a Greek god hurling bolts of good vibes. Overhead scoring units let carousers keep an eye on the competition while traipsing to the bar for a draft beer, and bumper bowling caters to out-of-shape balls afraid of getting their love handles stuck in the gutter.
Serra Bowl provides pin hunters with a comfortable, state-of-the-art environment in which to ply their strike-seeking skills. Take advantage of bowling’s distinctively stealthy footwear to sneak up on the flocks of unsuspecting game roosting on the alley’s 44 gleaming lanes—each of which can be outfitted with bumpers, the bowler’s version of a laser scope. A high-tech Qubica scoring system is available to track the pin count and vindicate the view that math skills have no real-world applications, and a friendly staff is on-hand to help with the equipment, explain bowling’s rules, and settle arguments over which of the Wright brothers was taller. Exhausted orb hurlers can replenish their strength at the alley’s snack bar or fully stocked on-site cocktail lounge, or they can opt to give their brains a much-needed break from the complexities of the game with some therapeutic button pushing in the game room. Serra Bowl is open until 2 a.m. or later seven nights a week, and around the clock on Saturdays, giving werewolves a wholesome alternative to their traditional nocturnal activity—drag racing.
Bel Mateo Bowl, home to 24 newly-installed Murrey synthetic alleys, fully automatic scoring, brilliant LCD monitors, and automated bumper bowling, provides family-friendly pin pulverizing seven days a week. Black-lit lanes illuminate bowling balls as they travel down the center's slick alleys during Planet Bowl, held each Friday and Saturday evening and fueled by colorful lights, upbeat tunes, and gravity. In addition to hosting leagues and bowling camps for kids, the colorful bowling center stocks a snack bar and serves drinks at a cocktail lounge punctuated by big-screen TVs. The alley's arcade room, complete with glowing air-hockey table, driving games, and pinball, hosts gaming kids and inner children alike, and karaoke on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday encourages lively covers of popular tunes and somber odes to fallen bowling pins.
All across California, Western Bowling Proprietors Association sends pins scattering at a network of bowling alleys, each with its own personality. In addition to open bowl on automatically scored lanes, many locations host special events that heighten the experience with enhancements such as vibrant lights, lively music, and laser systems that do double duty protecting the alleys' diamond collections. The alleys also house refreshment facilities, pro shops, and diversions that range from arcade games to billiards.