Tippy Bowl, named The Saratogian's "Best of Bowling" in 2009, boasts brightly colored walls, 14 classic lanes, a fully-stocked snack bar, and opportunities for families and friends to come together to strap on a pair of fashionable shoes. Up to four bowling bipeds can enjoy two hours of ball heaving, pizza munching, soda slurping, and repeated attempts to trick stoic bowling pins into smiling and losing their jobs. After unplugging thumbs, head over to Tippy Bowl's newly renovated snack bar for a treat, or unwind in the lounge, replete with Direct TV sports channels and freedom from taunting 7–10 splits.
The rumble of bowling balls hurtling toward pins echoes throughout Uncle Sam Lanes, culminating every few seconds in pin-toppling crashes and enthusiastic high-fives. The bowling center’s polished lanes reflect the glint of pearlized balls as players lace up nonslip shoes and rack up a litany of spares and strikes.
Between frames, wander over to the well-equipped pro shop, where specialists Clay and Sonny measure feet and fingers for shoes, gloves, and custom-weight balls. The duo stocks a wide selection of preowned gear, and they frequently rejuvenate the alley’s ball-beaten equipment with oil-removing and resurfacing machines. Fizzy libations line the tables in the nearby bar and lounge, where fingers warm up for games by hurling darts, poking the screen of an Internet jukebox, or jabbing at eight balls during games of pool.
President of the International Candlepin Bowling Association, Ralph Semb presides over French King Bowling Center, which has been in his family for 53 years. The Center’s 16 lanes feature candlestick bowling, a 10-pin variation that utilizes taller, lankier pins and smaller balls that have not yet sprouted finger holes. The food court serves up burgers, pizza, and soda to bolster bowlers, and a video arcade provides an alternative to ball hurling. Neon bowling on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays lets guests experience what it would be like to bowl inside a lava lamp. Birthday parties for up to 10 guests include one hour of bowling followed by an hour-long party with pizza, french fries, soda, and ice cream. Each guest also gets quarters to feed hungry arcade games and toy dispensers.
At each bowling center, balls hurtle down smooth, polished lanes as LCD screens keep track of scores and shimmering party lights illuminate the faces of determined bowlers. After lacing up some slide-enabling shoes and clearing the gutters of deciduous pins, bowlers set their sights on toppling 10-pin clusters. Carpets bedecked with psychedelic swirls lead to shelves stocked with neon-colored balls, which proffer their pin-busting talents to bowlers of various sizes. Fingers can warm up by mashing buttons in an arcade full of entrancing video games or bench-pressing french fries at the onsite grill and pub.
Sunset Recreation Bowling Lane’s expansive family-friendly facility offers more than a dozen self-scoring lanes, as well as a full snack bar with cheesy pizzas and sauce-slathered wings. Patrons can also stop by the alley’s full-service shop where local pro Warren Guernsey doles out bowling advice and reminisces about the days when lanes were uphill both ways.