For more than three decades, bowlers have settled scores atop the 56 glossy lanes at Pro Bowl West. Recently, the alley has been revamped to add flat-screen scoring monitors and new furniture, house balls, and shoes. Customers enjoy the new accouterments during open-bowling hours or lessons given by the experts at Charlie's Pro Shop. Exhaustion and rumbling tummies naturally steers patrons toward the Alley Sports Café & Grill, an old-timey diner that slings a popular pork-tenderloin sandwich. Other entertainment includes an arcade, as well as 21 flat-screen TVs, a dance floor, and six dartboards inside the Alley Sports Bar, a 3,000-square-foot space filled with the tunes of live bands on Saturdays and karaoke crooners on Thursdays and Fridays.
In 1952, Earl Myers and his son, Ed, built The Kitchen Table to create an eatery that combined hometown cooking with a friendly atmosphere. Now run by Rod Myers—Earl's grandson—and his wife, Mimi, the restaurant transports visitors back to the '50s with its original stools and countertop, which serves as a canvas for plates of classic diner fare and self-portraits painted in ketchup. Inside the kitchen, chefs simmer homemade soups, flip custom omelets, and transform ingredients into southern favorites such as country fried steak. They also serve smaller portions from a kids’ menu that, unlike the ability to see clowns, has no age limit.
Bear's Place, a 30-year old institution with new ownership, is planted adjacent to the Indiana University campus and is known for its social atmosphere. This reputation is thanks, in part, to its plethora of events?from Tuesday-night live acoustic shows to late-evening karaoke and other live performances from jazz and blues outfits. The bar also stakes its name on its signature drinks and a range of domestic and local craft beers served alongside specialty burgers and other American comfort foods. Wood-paneled walls, paintings of dogs, and bartenders with beer recipes tattooed on their biceps contribute to the rustic pub atmosphere.
The team at Big Apple Bagels builds chewy, ring-shaped bread bites from scratch and wakes palates with steaming cups of Brewster's coffee. The menu teems with eats inspired by New York City deli fare, such as bagel-based club sandwiches and nearly a dozen styles of cream cheese?including three whipped varieties and one milked directly from a somersaulting cow. Bagel flavors range from plain and sesame, whereas gourmet muffins introduce mouths to fluffy, cake-like texture kept moist?yet low in cholesterol?with soybean oil.
A fish arcs out of bright-blue water looking so realistic that one expects the fuzzy teddy bear standing nearby to be showered in a smattering of droplets. Courtney's Bakery’s staff sculpts cakes in three-dimensional renderings of dolls, sports arenas, and tropical waterfalls. In flavors such as carrot walnut, island coconut, and marble, these cakes also appear as cupcakes for a handheld dessert or tossing into your loved one’s mouths. Courtney claims inspiration from her mother, a self-taught baker who influenced the recipes for cookies and cinnamon rolls.
Located within the historical Engine House #10 in East State Village, Firehouse Tea & Coffee Café serves up fair-trade and organic café treats in a memorable setting. Baristas steep more than 60 types of loose-leaf teas, blend coffee milkshakes, and prepare bubble teas—pairing the drinks with snacks such as curry-chicken sandwiches and quiche. Local art adorns the café's walls, and live bands entertain on scheduled nights. Patrons can also get in on the musical action themselves during open-mic nights.