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.
At Van Houten Lanes, bowling balls thunder down the waxed stretches of 16 AMF synthetic lanes—and crash through the neat rows of AMF pins waiting at the end. All the while, an AMF automatic scoring system keeps an up-to-the-minute record of each player's successes and struggles. And yet bowling isn't all that this modern alley has to offer—a large-screen TV, pool table, and an internet-connected jukebox render the cocktail lounge comfortable enough to pass for "the new apartment" when parents come to visit. The bowling facility's café fuels play with cheesy calzones and signature Hoboken-style 32-inch pizzas—all of which can be washed down with craft beer from Flying Dog Brewing. Thanks to these ample amenities, including family-friendly touches such as lane bumpers, Van Houten Lanes frequently hosts events ranging from children's parties to fundraisers.
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 $10.98 value) in its hallowed halls wearing a pair of freshly disinfected bowling shoes (up to a $4.49 value).
Under the umbrella of The Bowling Proprietors' Association of North Jersey, an eclectic group of alleys work together to fill the region with the thunder of scattering pins. At most of Bowling Proprietors' bowling centers, bowlers keep track of pummeled pins with automatic scoring, and bumpers, which arrive at the call of a button, keep balls on course without filling the gutters with retired VCRs. Snack bars at some locations bolster ravenous bowlers, and game rooms in select centers keep hand-eye coordination in peak condition. Free WiFi is available in some centers so that winners can exercise bragging rights.
Lore's Lanes provides the balls and shoes. Guests just need to provide a swinging arm to toss bowling balls in pursuit of sending pins fleeing in fright. The bowling alley entertains couples on dates and kids attending birthday parties, complete with hot dogs and pizzas at the concession area. On Friday and Saturday nights, the alley turns into a cosmic wonderland, activating black lights to illuminate the pins, bowling balls, and any cyborg disguised as a human. Music videos play on projection screens, and song requests evoke the atmosphere of a lively club.
Since 1959, the reigns that urge Circle Lanes forward have been handed down through three generations. While the establishment still cultivates the now-retro vibe that characterized its early years, it's also outfitted with modern accoutrements including AMF automatic scoring and regular laser-bowl sessions that set brightly colored accents aglow. The facility features 34 Heddon synthetic lanes, which beckon sure-footed bowlers and discerning woodchucks alike with wood approaches. Bumpers are also available for those who can't yet roll between the lines. Beyond the lanes, Circle Pizzeria stands ready to serve a menu that sates appetites at all hours. Breakfast food such as muffins, omelets, and egg sandwiches gives way midday to a selection that includes roast-beef club sandwiches and pizzas topped with meatballs. Nearby, fellow patrons sit at Cabaret Lounge's wooden bar to sip beer, wine, or mixed drinks. Dartboards, a pool table, and a big-screen television offer additional diversions, ideal for distracting opponents while filling the finger holes on their bowling balls with mustard.