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.
Pinsetter Bar & Bowl's 34 polished lanes reflect their speedy pin-setting machines and the feet of bowlers in soft-soled shoes speeding their balls toward pins. As competition thickens, guests gaze upward to see high-definition monitors broadcasting music videos and bowling stats compiled by the automatic scoring system. After successful rounds, a full bar and lounge wafts the scent of its gourmet fare toward the famished with its barbecue-pork sliders, mussels, and mac 'n' cheese bites. Private events also get special treatment, as guests recline on leather couches in the VIP lounge, which overlooks lanes to be used exclusively by partygoers and the bowling balls that love them.
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).
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.
For nearly 40 years, First State Lanes has kept pastimers and ardent tenpin enthusiasts furnished with waxed lanes, snack-bar provender, and accouterments from a fully stocked pro shop. Amateurs hurl spheroids at lanes alongside semi-pros doing battle in colorful league uniforms or impressive gladiator outfits. During rounds, the full-service snack bar slings pizzas, plates of signature chicken tenders, and a selection of beers. During the evenings, bouts of cosmic red-pin bowling cast pins in crimson and black-light glow, and any bowler who throws a strike that houses le pin rouge wins a dollar. For less alley-based diversions, guests can saunter over to the game room to play pool and arcade games.
Playdrome knows that true zen happiness lies within the de-verticalizing of wooden pins using a tri-holed, weighted orb. As such, it offers bowling at a number of clean and modern facilities throughout the Philadelphia area. Both the Cherry Hill and the Rose Bowl alleys sport 36 lanes, while the Devon location has 24 lanes. Playdrome's 10-pin terrains provide automatic scoring, plasma TVs, and comfortable seating, with bumpers available for all lanes. Turkey tossers looking for a new challenge can try Playdrome's Future Bowl, where glow-in-the-dark balls get hurled down a fog-covered lane crisscrossed with laser lights and disco-ball sparkles. This Groupon is not valid for "Back to the Future" bowling, where you attempt to throw the bowling ball hard enough for it to travel back in time, ensuring that your parents kiss at the "Enchantment Under the Sea" dance before you cease to exist.