The bowler releases the ball so smoothly that it barely makes a sound upon hitting the lane, heightening the crack when the ball finally collides with the pins. You can witness this scene at Academy Bowling Lanes, where Brunswick automatic-scoring systems record each roll down the alleys' polished lanes. Bumpers are on hand to clog the gutters and improve scores. On select evenings, the concourses transform into a cosmic-bowling arena with laser systems, black lights, fog machines, and music leading up the night's closing event, the landing of a real spacecraft. Food and bar services supply guests with refreshments such as pizza, popcorn, and fountain pop.
It’s unknown whether or not Andy Warhol was a fan of bowling, but the façade of Park Bowling Centre would likely do him proud. The alley’s entrance is painted with an enormous grid of minimalist, pastel depictions of the game’s equipment. Inside, players seated at benches cheer each other on during open play sessions, league matches, and youth bowling programs. The alley is also available for birthday parties and glow bowling, where squadrons of fireflies muster all their strength to set the evening’s pins.
Games at St. James Lanes are like hanging out in a friend's living room, except everyone cheers when things start falling over. The 16-lane alley truly embodies the spirit of friendly competition. Its staff and regulars welcome anyone into their five-pin bowling leagues, especially since a forgiving handicap system accommodates newer players. The crew organizes tournaments for kids as well, and they even flip on the black lights and crank up the music for the occasional glow bowl session. When not cheering visitors on, staffers serve food and drinks from a full bar.