Bowlerama helps pinbusters roll out barrels of good times from the confines of its timeless alley digs. After relinquishing streets shoes for a pair of lane-approved loafers, bowling posses hurl balls down one of 62 slicked hardwood alleys, taking aim at strikes, spares, and escaped varmints from nearby Whac-A-Mole machines. Each lane arrives outfitted with automatic bumpers and a full-color, animated AMF Conqueror scoring system, allowing bowlers to focus on form instead of arithmetic.
• For $12, you get two games of bowling for two people (up to a $19 value) and two shoe rentals (up to a $5 value; up to a $24 total value). • For $24, you get two games of bowling for four people (up to a $38 value) and four shoe rentals (up to a $10 value; up to a $48 total value). • For $30, you get five admissions to Rock-N-Bowl (up to a $60 value), which takes place on Fridays from midnight to 3 a.m. and Saturdays from 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Rock-N-Bowl is open only to guests 18 and older.
Playdrome entertains its guests with 36 pin-toppling lanes. Each lane features automatic scoring, plasma TVs, and comfortable seating, with bumpers available for wayward balls and misguided pin-missiles. On Friday and Saturday nights, Playdrome hosts Future Bowl Laser Light & Sound Show, which bathes the lanes in a laser light show as glow-in-the-dark balls and pins collide to the cadence of a live DJ.
While the scoring may be faster and the tunes louder, Wynnewood Lanes still maintains the laidback atmosphere it had on its opening day in 1962. At the 24-lane alley guests mow down pins and snack on pizza at The Beer Frame Lounge. As weekend evenings fade into night, live DJs start blasting tunes through the sound system, inspiring guests to dance under the alley’s glowing neon lights. Simultaneously, a fog machine fills the room with a haziness that confuses bowlers into thinking karaoke singers are really the ghosts of long-gone rock 'n' rollers.
North bowl is anything but a typical bowling alley. Previously a mechanic's garage, North Bowl Lounge n Lanes was completely overhauled in 2006 before reopening as a swank, 21,000-square-foot retro-style bowling alley and nightclub. With two floors, an upscale comfort food menu, a large bar, and a vast sweep of polished wood lanes, it's become a North Philadelphia gathering place for the 21-and-over crowd.
The food here isn't anything like typical bar fare, either. Upstairs in the cafe, diners munch on Baja-style fish tacos with housemade salsa or Cajun mac n' cheese as they overlook the lanes below through windows. After bowling, there's more fun to be had in the retro arcade, where video games and pinball machines offer a form of competition that requires no heavy lifting and wearing special shoes is optional.
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 $10.58 value) in its hallowed halls wearing a pair of freshly disinfected bowling shoes (up to a $4.25 value).