With non-kitschy decor, music you'd usually find at a club or bar, as well as fully stocked bars, a bowling alley could be your next nightlife destination, after-work hang out, or, even to this day, the perfect spot for your next birthday party.
Here's a look at New York City bowling alleys that make a strike, from the upscale to the laid-back.
At Chelsea Piers, you can skate, golf, swing a bat, and, of course, bowl, at 300 New York. With an upscale decor of plush seating, neon bar and clubby lighting, and a private loft and bowling alley perfect for parties, 300 invites a word you wouldn't associate with bowling - sophisticated. Despite its nightclub feel, you don't have to quite spend nightclub prices. Games are $8 a person Monday through Friday and $9 Saturday and Sunday before 5 p.m., and $10 Monday through Thursday and $11 Friday through Sunday after 5 p.m. Up 8 people a lane. Add another $6 plus tax for shoes.
Fun. Sexy. Cool. These are just some of the words used to describe Bowlmor Lanes. In addition to the usual ball and pins, the Union Square bowling alley, which boasts 42 lanes, also offers special events to make it more of a party. On Sundays, watch the game, drink some beers, get a platter of wings and, of course, bowl; Mondays get in as many games as your arm and handle and rent shoes for only $24; and, for those who really have to watch every penny but want to have some fun, Formerly Employed Wednesdays provide the most "affourdable" late night party with, you guessed it, $4 games and $4 drafts. Otherwise, games are $11.95 per person any time or day, with shoes $6.
The newest kid on the block, Brooklyn Bowl brings bowling to a whole new level. With 16 lanes equipped with hi-def screens for music videos, a separate concert space for actual live music, and food from the award-winning chain Blue Ribbon (definitely try the fried chicken), the Williamsburg venue offers multiple forms of entertainment, even if you're not in the mood to bowl. Of course, if you are, bowling ranges are a bit complicated depending on the day and time, but range from $30 a lane per hour to $50 a lane per hour, with 8 people to a lane. Shoe rental $4.
Nearby, the vintagey Gutter provides a more low-key bowling atmosphere, with 8 lanes, no kitchen but delivery's cool, a decent beer selection, and Monday night trivia, so you can go and bowl and not feel too much like you're being seen. Bowling costs are also a bit involved, with games $6 before 8 p.m. and $7 after, or range from $30 to $45 per hour, depending on the time and day of the week, with 6 people to a lane. Shoes will add another $3.
Harlem Lanes likes to make it a party, with themed nights including Karaoke, Grown & Sexy Old School Concerts and TGIF Fridays to keep you coming, as well as a fully stocked sports par, appetizers, and a mini arcade (mainly for the kids, but hey, you're already bowling). On the cheaper side, a game will cost you $6 Monday through Thursday and $8.50 Friday through Sunday. Add $5 for shoes.
If you find yourself in or around Times Square, you'll have not one but two opportunities to get your bowl on. Port Authority is often your gateway out of New York, but you can head to Leisure Time Bowl (recently renamed Frames, though the old name still seems to hold) and stick around for a while. The alley recently got a sleek overhaul and provides upscale bowling every day, though it'll be better on your wallet to plan ahead. Save 20% by booking online, with rates usually costing $6.50 to $9.50 per game, or $50 to $75 per hour depending on the day/time, with 6 people to a lane. For you night owls, two hours of bowling, shoes and a Tower of Beer (11 pints) costs $29 per person when booked online all days after 9 p.m. Add $5 for shoe rental.
Farther west, the 26 lanes at Lucky Strike provide you the opportunity to work on getting that strike in style, or, with their 10 billiard tables, that ace in the hole. Mondays, you can also watch the game and take advantage of drink and food specials (just don't sport any sportswear, as that's one of the many items not included in its dress code), as well as bowl as much as you want for $22, including shoe rental. Otherwise, rates range from $9.95 to $11.95 per person depending on time and day, plus $5 for shoe rental, with lanes up to 10 people.
So, if you want to avoid family crowds and add a fun activity to your night out, keep these stylin' spots in mind.
Where:300 New York - Pier 60/23rd & West Side Highway, Bowlmor Lanes - 110 University Place, Brooklyn Bowl - 61 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, The Gutter - 200 North 14th Street, Brooklyn, Harlem Lanes - 2116 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, 3rd Floor, Leisure Time
Fun! There's also a bowling alley in Jackson Heights - it's not that special, just a boring AMF lanes like you would find in the suburbs. But they have a "Night of Cheap Thrills" when it's only $10 for unlimited bowling!
By Joanna Eng - senior reviewer Thursday, 14th of April @ 02:10 pm