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.
The music pulses in the air, almost drowning out the crack as bowling balls hit their targets. Colorful lights skitter across the lanes, while guests sit at tables that glow with space-age decals. It?s another weekend at Oasis Lanes, and Cosmic Bowling is on the agenda. During the other five nights of the week, leagues, birthday parties, and groups of friends take turns tossing balls down lanes, all with the aim of knocking down as many pins as possible. Between games, the Palm Court Caf? helps guests refuel with pizzas, sandwiches, and cheeseburgers. For other modes of entertainment, the alley?s Mirage lounge pairs tequila and beer with rounds of karaoke and competitive origami folding.
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.
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.
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 $7.98 value) in its hallowed halls wearing a pair of freshly disinfected bowling shoes (up to a $3.69 value).
Since 1965, bowling buffs have decimated the pins at West County Lanes. Slip into a pair of piebald loafers ($2.75 for a rental) and practice perfect follow-throughs as you hurl sporty spheroids down any of the 24 lanes ($3.25 per person each game, $3.75 weekends and holidays; $15 per lane each hour, $18 weekends and holidays). Powered by a savvy system, hanging monitors display scores as well as embarrassing childhood photos of any player who rolls a gutter ball. On Fridays from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Saturdays after 10 p.m., the futuristic lights and glow-in-the-dark lanes of cosmic bowling ($19 per lane each hour) comfort homesick time-travelers trapped in the ancient present.