Vintage bowling alleys return bowlers to a simpler time when score was kept by hand, and pins were reset by steam-powered androids. Get back to bowling basics with today's Groupon: for $39, you get two hours of bowling with shoe rental for four at Jeffery Lanes in Wheeling (an $80 value).
Jeffery Lanes, dating back to the 1950s, delights cadres of pin vanquishers with eight vintage alleys. The poltergeist of an owner past is rumored to overlook eight lanes as bowlers jeer at gutter balls and draft eloquent haikus to strikes and spares. Quartets lace up stylish alley-ready shoes before hitting the lanes, tallying their own strikes and spares beneath a colorful mural depicting the ongoing tension in ball-pin relations. Sip on the bar's array of suds as amateur crooners soothe sore losers and fussy babies through song during karaoke night, hosted by the Chicago Sound Machine Thursday–Saturday evenings.
Neon lights illuminate the original sign that beckons bowlers into Jeffery Lanes, where retro stylings hearken back to the 1950s, when the bowling arena was established. The vintage vibe carries throughout the eight-lane bowling alley. Ball-returns flaunt midcentury modern curves to match the scoring tables, where bowlers tally up each conquered pin by hand, instead of leaving it to an automatic scoring system. Between frames, bowlers can escape to the lounge and sip brews from the glass-block bar, lined in the faded blue wood paneling.
But the décor isn’t the only thing still lingering from a by-gone era. Regulars and the current owner claim Jeffery Lanes is haunted by its previous owner, Bud Miller. He is known to make appearances late at night, whispering pointers on proper form into unsuspecting bowlers’ ears.
125 N Wolf Rd.
Wheeling, Illinois 60090