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 compose America can unite in the common cause of toppling 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 value) in its hallowed halls wearing a pair of freshly disinfected bowling shoes (up to a $4 value).
As enthusiastic ball throwers add to a soundtrack of toppling pins, Doyle's Bowling & Lounge quiets less-impressive stomach grumbles with its in-house café. Before settling in to a cozy blue chair for two games with three family members or friends, pick up a pair of shoes from the desk and celebrate your group's matching footwear with a quick song-and-soft-shoe routine. When efforts to zero in on strikes work up an appetite, the friendly staff at the Down in the Alley Cafe will happily supply some sustenance, adorning a 12-inch pie with a topping of your choice and pouring a pitcher of soda to whet parched whistles. Add luminescent or aural intrigue to games by coordinating your trip with Doyle's live music or your own live rendition of The Wizard of Oz.
At its full-service, well-maintained facility, Midway Pro Bowl caters to bowlers of all dedication levels. Its optional bumpers bolster beginners, whereas onsite bowling lessons employ instructors certified by the United States Bowling Congress to elevate skills. The pin-falling activity on Midway Pro Bowl's 32 lanes is monitored by automatic scoring systems, and fashionable bowlers can turn lanes into runways with sparkling new balls and accessories from its well-stocked pro shop. After the game, a full-service lounge conjures postgame relaxation with alcoholic beverages. Alternatively, the most dedicated competitors can refuel with burgers, hot dogs, or pizza from the snack bar before taking to the arcade to spar with virtual foes rather than playing bowling-ball dodge ball with real-life foes.
Over the last 50 years, The Park Tavern has perfected the convivial trifecta of eating, drinking, and bowling. A menu of gourmet burgers and traditional pub fare mingles with a drink menu of domestic and imported beers and wines for between-frame refueling. On Mondays, the alley fills with high-energy tunes, and bowling balls careen all night during the $5 all-you-can-bowl nights. The Park Tavern rolls out its varied bowling buffets for corporate events, birthday parties, or the anniversary of the end of bowling prohibition during the Nixon administration.
Medina Entertainment Center fights boredom on several fronts with a host of recreational activities housed in one sprawling complex. The renowned concert stage attracts top-level talent from around the country, and its list of past performers?Johnny Cash, Alice Cooper, and Bret Michaels?reads like a brochure at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. If your belly is rumbling so loudly that you can't hear the music, just head to Robert's Restaurant, where a menu of burgers, wraps, and grilled fish awaits. Medina is also home to a 12-lane bowling center where players can let off steam by naming each pin after a different middle-school bully.
Since greasing its first lane in 1958, Lariat Lanes has spent the past half century serving its community with family-friendly bowling and entertainment. Located just a short distance from downtown Minneapolis, the pin-punishing emporium touts a lineup of 12 ultrasleek lanes that lend their surfaces to leagues, parties, and daily sessions of open bowling. Memorabilia adorns the alley's walls to create a timeline of storied collectibles, including keepsakes signed by the Rolling Stones, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, and the Beastie Boys. In between evading gutters and matchbox cars using the lanes as a drag strip, guests can refuel with hot dogs, wings, and nachos at the restaurant or sip sodas and beers in the bar, where local sports games illuminate TV screens.