Nationwide Bowling orchestrates a cacophonous symphony of clanking pins and cheering bowlers at 11 modern bowling centers located throughout New Jersey. Center size varies from the Hudson location where 60 lanes with automatic scoring, a grill, sports bar, and arcade games accommodate armadas of bowlers to Garden Palace, which houses 16 lanes, a bar, and a snack shop. At all locations, staffers host birthday parties and corporate events and organize leagues for competitive bowlers or people who just like to chuck heavy objects as hard as they can.
If not for the occasional clatter of pins, Bowlmor Lanes' bright and modern decor and its full-service dining room could be mistaken for a lively nightclub. The sleek establishment’s gleaming lanes exude a glamorous charm not often found in bowling alleys. Adding to the ambience is a high-end sports bar and glow-in-the-dark lighting that illuminates each bowling pin.
Frames Bowling Lounge NYC's swanky amenities appeal to everyone, from local bowling-league mainstays to casual players to Jay-Z, Beyoncé, or Knicks' sharpshooter Carmelo Anthony. Part contemporary bowling alley, part full-service restaurant, part late-night dance club, the sleek Midtown Manhattan playground has been lauded by the press for an atmosphere teeming with the sounds of thumping music, dancing bodies, and clinking martinis alongside the usual roar of strikes and high-fives.
Twenty-eight polished bowling lanes guide balls toward pins as players wait their turns on plush, leather couches, where flat-screen TVs and club-style lighting compete for their attention. After a game of bowling, players can walk past the glowing bar top into the restaurant, where organic ingredients complement porterhouse steaks, pan-roasted salmon, decadent desserts, and exotic cocktails. Those who aren't ready to abandon their victory dances can shuffle straight into the dance club, where DJs kick out heart-pumping beats as the walls light up to provide perfect backdrops for dancing or recreating the moment you found the right-sized bowling ball.
When combined, the thunderous rolling of balls, clattering of pins, and whip-like clashing of high-fives form the soundtrack for Maple Family Centers' string of family-owned alleys. Open seven days per week, each emporium's array of slicked lanes host everything from youth programs and leagues to birthday parties as competitors of all ages duel with or without bumpers. During cosmic bowling on weekend nights, Maple Family Centers honors the sport's discothèque origins with glowing lanes and thumping tunes. A full menu of pub fare re-energizes fatigued fingers, and on-site pro shops help improve players' games by providing the latest equipment or fitting older balls with new prescription glasses.
Full Circle Bar's four skee-ball machines provide more than entertainment: they determine national champions. Home to Brewskee-Ball?a nationwide network of amateur skee-ball leagues that's been featured on NPR and ESPN?Full Circle is the epicenter of a growing phenomenon. A chalkboard beside the skee-ball machines is routinely full of official league news, and many of the sport's high-profile events, including the national-championship matches, are decided there, drawing in participants from as far away as Austin and San Francisco. As bar co-owner and Brewskee-Ball cofounder Eric Pavony told the Los Angeles Times, "It's a sanctioned competitive sport. I cover this like ESPN would."
In spite of Full Circle Bar's status as the home for Brewskee-Ball competition, the air is tension free. Friendly bartenders serve more than 40 beers by the can and pour American craft microbrews from an ever-changing draft list. The skee-ball machines are even open for free play on select evenings, letting anyone practice their roll and hone the number of fist pumps in their victory celebration.
Partially demolished and built anew to look old, The Gutter couples its eight gleaming wood lanes with a vintage Brunswick scoring system, ensuring that you'll get both a thumb workout and a healthy dose of mathercise. Beyond the nostalgia, there's substance, too: the facilities operate on 100% wind power, which means bowlers are more than welcome to contribute to the lighting bill by making airy boasts after rolling a strike. While you can certainly top off your pitcher with the finest Natural Light, there are plenty of craft beers flowing as well.