America's 7 coolest bowling alleys

Drink craft beer. Tuck into gourmet meals. Maybe listen to a live band. At these amazing bowling centres there’s more to bowling than knocking down pins.

5 mins

Bowling is the most played sport in America. Last year alone over 70 million Americans headed down to one of over 5,000 bowling alleys to knock down some pins.

But there’s more to bowling than the game itself. A new breed of retro chic bowling centres serving cocktails, craft beer and gourmet food have become destinations in themselves. 

We’ve listed 7 of the coolest.

Brooklyn Bowl (Brooklyn

1. Brooklyn Bowl, Willamsburg, New York

Set in the vast 19th-century Hecla Iron Works building in Williamsburg, Brooklyn Bowl is the ultimate hipster bowling alley. It is 100% wind powered, serves beer from the Brooklyn Brewery next door, and dishes up gourmet food from the award-winning Blue Ribbon group. 

Check the events page before your rock up. You could be sharing your lane with a gig by some of the biggest names in music.

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2. Atomic Duckpin Bowling, Indianapolis, Indiana

Just how retro do you want to go? This alley in Indianapoli’s iconic Fountain Square Theatre Building has revived duckpin bowling, a challenging variation of tradition bowling where the pins and balls are much smaller.

Said to be Babe Ruth’s favourite game, you can try your hand at duckpin using authentic ’50s bowling equipment on one of the eight vintage duckpin lanes upstairs. Make sure you take time to check out the bowling memorabilia from the early 1900s.

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Silver Dollar Alley (Ranch at Rock Creek)

3. Silver Dollar Saloon Bowling Alley, Philipsburg, Montana

Set in the Ranch at Rock Creek, the Silver Dollar Saloon takes its name from the Silver Dollars embedded in the bar, which are seen as a good luck charm. Located near the Granite Lodge, the Silver Dollar Saloon boats a bowling alley with four lanes of bowling, karaoke, billiard tables, and a private move theatre.


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4. JB’s on 41, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

JB’s is not for the fainted hearted. With 35 public lanes and 10 semi-private lanes, the joint is always jumping, especially on Moonlight Bowling nights when they bring out the laser, disco and runway lane lights, pump up the music and turn on the fog machines. As they say on their website, this is not your grandma’s kind of bowling alley!

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5. The Goodnight, Austin, Texas

Serious bowlers might come along for the eight vintage bowling lanes and custom balls, but chances are you’ll be more interested in the huge hand-painted mural sitting over the lanes that pays tribute to characters from The Big Lebowksi and Kingpin

Bizarrely, there’s also a state-of-the-art air guitar room. Maybe somewhere to warm up your bowling arm?

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Newly weds bowling ( couple bowling (Contacted website)

6. Rock ‘n’ Bowl, New Orleans, Louisiana

As much a music venue as a bowling centre, this legendary Big Easy alley features live bands every night. The stage can be seen from all 18 lanes and dancing between them is not only allowed, but actively encourages. The food is pretty good too, each dish coming with a typical N’awlins twist: the Rock ’n’ Bowl is the only bowling alley in the States that grinds its own chuck.

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Pin boys (Creative Commons: Eve Was Weak)

Pin boys (Creative Commons: Eve Was Weak)

7. Holler House, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Holler House is a century-old tavern that houses the oldest certified bowling alley in the United States. Indeed, two lanes are so old that they are still tended by human pinsetters.

The pin boys, as locals call them, reload pins after each throw. It’s a job that earns them $30 a day, but has not been seen in any other ally in the country since the invention of the automatic pin setter in 1936. 

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