Ten-pin-toppling traditionalists, from hippie-noir detectives to the Amish, will love today's deal: $20 worth of bowling, pool, food, and drinks at either Moolah Lanes or Saratoga Lanes for $10. If you bring three friends or more, you can combine two Groupons for $40 of value, but you'll have to use it all up in one visit, so find out who has a dental cleaning coming up.
Both eight-lane alleys come from the old school and serve up "bowling the way it used to be," when film was more filmy and carpet designs were mesmerizingly carpety. Take a virtual tour of Moolah or Saratoga. At Saratoga, you'll keep track of your score on paper, just like President James Monroe, so Wii-cosseted bowlers may have to bone up on their strike and spare calculations. There are no laser lights, smoke machines, or thumping discojock jams to sully the moment when ball perfectly hooks into one-pin. The only contemporary aspect of the lanes is the collegiate clientele from nearby SLU, who like to start their Saturday nights off with a little rolling and a few beers ($4 for well drinks, $3–$5 for beer).
Moolah's games are $4 per-person on weekdays and $5 on weekends (shoe rental $3). Saratoga's rates are $3 on weekdays (shoe rental $2) and $4 on weekends (shoe rental $3).
If your nickname involves a continental state and the word Fats, you might prefer to pot a few billiard balls with your fellow pool sharks (and the pool remoras that feed off you) for $10 an hour per table. Moolah minglers can engage in pool and ping and pong for the same table rate ($10 per hour). Whichever game you go with, just be sure to wear your most garish thrift-store polyester shirt and some herringbone Sansabelts, and enjoy the favorite indoor pastime of avuncular kings the way it was meant to be enjoyed.
- Give me Saratoga Lanes over any other bowling alley in St. Louis any day... The prices are great to bowl and also to drink. – Jaffa A., Yelp
- SLU students often call Moolah the Temple. It is a really cool old building. – Mag O., Citysearch
- …it's a great place to see and be seen for the SLU crowd, but for me, It's a great idea to bowl after a good meal in the Central West End or right before going out on the town, since it's centrally located. – Nowell G., Yelp
How To Cheat At Bowling—And Win!
From preteens celebrating birthdays to finger-strong heroes of otherwise unathletic heft, bowling has been the premier indoor sport of champions for decades. Some may remember that this reputation was very nearly tarnished with the publication of Emory Bangston’s runaway best-seller, How To Cheat At Bowling—And Win!, a step-by-step guide to everything wrong with the modern sport. Here are a few excerpts from Bangston’s manual to treachery:
- “Rental shoes are a drag. While conforming to ‘traditional’ rules of play, most models lack spring-loaded knives.” (p. 12)
- “If a game cannot be saved, remember, earthquakes are the great equalizer. If you don’t live near a fault line, consider investing in nature’s earthquake: dynamite.” (p. 21)
- “A ranged weapon, like a crossbow or grapple, can do more than topple a stubborn pin when your opponent isn’t looking. It can also be pointed threateningly to remind them they’re dealing with someone thoroughly unhinged.” (p. 201)
- “The Claw Machine in the arcade can and should be reprogrammed to terminate. Please see my companion book, The Coming Robot Revolution: Embrace Your Metal Master! (p. 213)
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Saratoga Lanes and Moolah Lanes
Billed as the oldest bowling alley west of the Mississippi, Saratoga Lanes has been entertaining families and leagues since 1916. They alley has retained a vintage vibe, with black-and-white checkered floors, turquoise seats, and manual scoring. If players need a break between games, they can retire to the bar (which has craft beers from Schlafly), billiards room, or the sunny veranda.
Saratoga's sister alley, Moolah Lanes, has a bit of a sleeker design, with curved leather banquettes at the end of each alley and digital scoring machines. It's located below the Moolah Theater inside the Moolah Temple, making it an ideal destination for date night.