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Next Generation Bowling Alleys Keep Knocking 'Em Down

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Welcome to Taking the Temperature, in which Eater checks the vital signs of various food scenes across the country to find out what's exciting and what's DOA. Today: the new wave of bowling alleys.

Bowling usually brings to mind dark, smoke-stained, wood-paneled lairs that haven't been remodeled since the 70s, or, worse, mid-90s black-lit strips in the suburbs with cartoon bowling pins dancing on the televisions. But what about the current generation of bowling alleys?

Bowling alleys today run the gamut from suburban chains aimed at young professionals with "evening casual" dress codes to hip urban bowling alley/event venue combos with extensive local beer lists to antique, reclaimed lanes accompanied by a bartender in a vest with a handlebar moustache. They're chic lounges with antique wooden alleys or state of the art equipment where you can order fancy pre-Prohibition-inspired cocktails and food from a chef whose name is on the menu. These are not bowling alleys as you currently know them.

One of the first was Bowlmor: the current incarnation of the New York City bowling alley opened in 1994 and, according to the Bowlmor website, by 1999 it was the highest grossing bowling alley in the country. In 2010, a tricked out new location opened in the old New York Times building, complete with a David Burke restaurant, two nightclubs, a ballroom and, of course, 50 lanes of bowling.

In 2003, the first locations of the chains Splittsville and Lucky Strike both opened, in Tampa, Florida and Hollywood, respectively. And the trend went indie in 2009, when Brooklyn Bowl opened its upscale bowling alley/bar/restaurant/music venue in Williamsburg and Tim League of Alamo Drafthouse fame opened the Highball in Austin, Texas — what he calls a a "fun center," with bowling, karoake, parties, a bar and a restaurant.

Since then others have opened, including The Spare Room, which opened in Los Angeles in 2011. An elegant take on a gentlemen's gaming room, this bowling alley in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel has the two antique, reclaimed bowling alleys and a $75 cocktail on the menu to prove it. And Mission Bowling Club in San Francisco, which is co-owned by Anthony Myint of Mission Street Food/Chinese fame, started serving Mission Burgers just last month.

And more are on their way: Austin's getting a second take on the trend with the Goodnight, opening sometime this summer. Dallas' Bowl & Barrel is coming in September, and Punch Bowl Social is taking on both Denver and Portland.

So why now? Why the obsession with upscale bowling alleys? Nostalgia. According to Alamo Drafthouse's Tim League, "A lot of my generation grew up with bowling because of our parents...when you couple beer with nostalgia, you end up in a pretty happy place." And yet this generation of bowling aficionados expects more than microwaved nachos: "nostalgia" in modern restaurant terms means updating the classics. The Highball's chef Trish Eichelberger "reimagine[s] diner food with a Texas twist," serving plays on Dr. Pepper ribs and other Texan standbys.

As for the beverage side of things, cocktails and local beer lists are swell, sometimes it's still about the novelty: says League, "I'm a sucker for those novelty 16oz Bud Lights in the bowling pin shape. That's the only time I drink Bud Light."

A Selection of New Generation Bowling Alleys Across the Country

Did we forget your favorite fancy pants bowling alley? Let us know in the comments.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Highball

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1142 S Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 383-8309
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2. North Bowl

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909 N 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(215) 238-2695
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3. Bowlmor Lanes

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222 W 44th St
New York, NY 10036
(212) 680-0012
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4. Brooklyn Bowl

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61 Wythe Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 963-3369
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5. Mission Bowling Club

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3176 17th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

6. 300 Houston

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925 Bunker Hill Rd
Houston, TX 77024
(713) 461-1207
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7. Bowl & Barrel (Forthcoming)

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8070 Park Ln
Dallas, TX 75231
(214) 365-0222
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8. Punch Bowl Social (Forthcoming)

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65 S Broadway
Denver, CO 80209

9. The Spare Room

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7000 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 466-7000

10. Grand Central

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808 SE Morrison St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 236-2695
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11. Splittsville Fredericksburg

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51
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
(540) 785-2695

12. Splitsville Miami

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5701 Sunset Dr #202
South Miami, FL 33143
(305) 665-5263

13. Splitsville Tampa

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615 Channelside Dr
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 514-2695
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14. Splitsville Fairview

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352 Town Pl, The Village at Fairview
Fairview, TX 75069
(972) 549-4263
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15. Lucky Strike Phoenix

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50 W Jefferson St
アリゾナ州立大学 - ダウンタウン・フェニックス・キャンパス Phoenix, AZ 85003
(602) 732-5490

16. Lucky Strike Hollywood

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6801 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 467-7776

17. Lucky Strike Los Angeles

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800 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 542-4880

18. Lucky Strike Orange County

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20 City Blvd W, Outlets at Orange
Orange, CA 92868

19. Lucky Strike San Francisco

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200 King St
San Francisco, CA 94107

20. Lucky Strike Torrance

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3525 W Carson St, Del Amo Fashion Center
Torrance, CA 90503
(310) 802-7010

21. Lucky Strike Denver

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Central Parking System, 500 16th St
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 629-9090

22. Lucky Strike Lakewood

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415 S Teller St
Lakewood, CO 80226
(303) 935-5793

23. Lucky Strike Miami

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1691 Michigan Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 532-0307

24. Lucky Strike Chicago

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322 E Illinois St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 245-8331

25. Lucky Strike Lombard

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100 Yorktown Shopping Center
Lombard, IL 60148
(630) 916-8681

26. Lucky Strike Boston

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145 Ipswich St
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 437-0300

27. Lucky Strike Novi

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44325 W 12 Mile Rd
Novi, MI 48377
(248) 374-3420

28. Lucky Strike NYC

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660 W 42nd St
New York, NY 10036
(646) 829-0170

29. Lucky Strike West Nyack

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1000 Palisades Center Dr
West Nyack, NY 10994
(845) 358-5980

30. Lucky Strike Philadelphia

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Brenman Scott MD, 801 Spruce St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 545-2471

31. Lucky Strike Fort Worth

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2845 W 7th St
Fort Worth, TX 76107
(817) 566-1470

32. Lucky Strike Houston

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1201 San Jacinto St
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 343-3300

33. Lucky Strike Bellevue

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250 Bellevue Way NE
Bellevue, WA 98004
(425) 453-5137

34. Lucky Strikes Washington, DC

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701 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
701 7th Street Northwest Washington, DC 20001

35. 300 Anaheim

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321 W Katella Ave
Anaheim, CA 92802
(714) 783-2810

36. 300 Atlanta

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2175 Savoy Dr
Atlanta, GA 30341
(770) 451-8605

37. 300 Dallas

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3805 Belt Line Rd
Addison, TX 75001
(972) 620-7700

38. 300 Long Island

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895 Walt Whitman Rd
Melville, NY 11747
(631) 271-1180

39. 300 New York

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Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Dr
New York, NY
(212) 835-2695

40. 300 Pasadena

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3545 E Foothill Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91107
(626) 768-4860

41. 300 San Jose

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5420 Thornwood Dr
San Jose, CA 95123
(408) 578-2940

42. 300 Shady Grove

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15720 Shady Grove Rd
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
(301) 948-1390

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1. The Highball

1142 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
1142 S Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78704

2. North Bowl

909 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19123
909 N 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19123

3. Bowlmor Lanes

222 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036
222 W 44th St
New York, NY 10036

4. Brooklyn Bowl

61 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
61 Wythe Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211

5. Mission Bowling Club

3176 17th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
3176 17th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

6. 300 Houston

925 Bunker Hill Rd, Houston, TX 77024
925 Bunker Hill Rd
Houston, TX 77024

7. Bowl & Barrel (Forthcoming)

8070 Park Ln, Dallas, TX 75231
8070 Park Ln
Dallas, TX 75231

8. Punch Bowl Social (Forthcoming)

65 S Broadway, Denver, CO 80209
65 S Broadway
Denver, CO 80209

9. The Spare Room

7000 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
7000 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

10. Grand Central

808 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97214
808 SE Morrison St
Portland, OR 97214

11. Splittsville Fredericksburg

51, Fredericksburg, VA 22401
51
Fredericksburg, VA 22401

12. Splitsville Miami

5701 Sunset Dr #202, South Miami, FL 33143
5701 Sunset Dr #202
South Miami, FL 33143

13. Splitsville Tampa

615 Channelside Dr, Tampa, FL 33602
615 Channelside Dr
Tampa, FL 33602

14. Splitsville Fairview

352 Town Pl, The Village at Fairview, Fairview, TX 75069
352 Town Pl, The Village at Fairview
Fairview, TX 75069

15. Lucky Strike Phoenix

50 W Jefferson St, アリゾナ州立大学 - ダウンタウン・フェニックス・キャンパス Phoenix, AZ 85003
50 W Jefferson St
アリゾナ州立大学 - ダウンタウン・フェニックス・キャンパス Phoenix, AZ 85003

Related Maps

16. Lucky Strike Hollywood

6801 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
6801 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

17. Lucky Strike Los Angeles

800 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015
800 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015

18. Lucky Strike Orange County

20 City Blvd W, Outlets at Orange, Orange, CA 92868
20 City Blvd W, Outlets at Orange
Orange, CA 92868

19. Lucky Strike San Francisco

200 King St, San Francisco, CA 94107
200 King St
San Francisco, CA 94107

20. Lucky Strike Torrance

3525 W Carson St, Del Amo Fashion Center, Torrance, CA 90503
3525 W Carson St, Del Amo Fashion Center
Torrance, CA 90503

21. Lucky Strike Denver

Central Parking System, 500 16th St, Denver, CO 80202
Central Parking System, 500 16th St
Denver, CO 80202

22. Lucky Strike Lakewood

415 S Teller St, Lakewood, CO 80226
415 S Teller St
Lakewood, CO 80226

23. Lucky Strike Miami

1691 Michigan Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
1691 Michigan Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139

24. Lucky Strike Chicago

322 E Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60611
322 E Illinois St
Chicago, IL 60611

25. Lucky Strike Lombard

100 Yorktown Shopping Center, Lombard, IL 60148
100 Yorktown Shopping Center
Lombard, IL 60148

26. Lucky Strike Boston

145 Ipswich St, Boston, MA 02215
145 Ipswich St
Boston, MA 02215

27. Lucky Strike Novi

44325 W 12 Mile Rd, Novi, MI 48377
44325 W 12 Mile Rd
Novi, MI 48377

28. Lucky Strike NYC

660 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036
660 W 42nd St
New York, NY 10036

29. Lucky Strike West Nyack

1000 Palisades Center Dr, West Nyack, NY 10994
1000 Palisades Center Dr
West Nyack, NY 10994

30. Lucky Strike Philadelphia

Brenman Scott MD, 801 Spruce St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Brenman Scott MD, 801 Spruce St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

31. Lucky Strike Fort Worth

2845 W 7th St, Fort Worth, TX 76107
2845 W 7th St
Fort Worth, TX 76107

32. Lucky Strike Houston

1201 San Jacinto St, Houston, TX 77002
1201 San Jacinto St
Houston, TX 77002

33. Lucky Strike Bellevue

250 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA 98004
250 Bellevue Way NE
Bellevue, WA 98004

34. Lucky Strikes Washington, DC

701 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
701 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

35. 300 Anaheim

321 W Katella Ave, Anaheim, CA 92802
321 W Katella Ave
Anaheim, CA 92802

36. 300 Atlanta

2175 Savoy Dr, Atlanta, GA 30341
2175 Savoy Dr
Atlanta, GA 30341

37. 300 Dallas

3805 Belt Line Rd, Addison, TX 75001
3805 Belt Line Rd
Addison, TX 75001

38. 300 Long Island

895 Walt Whitman Rd, Melville, NY 11747
895 Walt Whitman Rd
Melville, NY 11747

39. 300 New York

Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Dr, New York, NY
Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Dr
New York, NY

40. 300 Pasadena

3545 E Foothill Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107
3545 E Foothill Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91107

41. 300 San Jose

5420 Thornwood Dr, San Jose, CA 95123
5420 Thornwood Dr
San Jose, CA 95123

42. 300 Shady Grove

15720 Shady Grove Rd, Gaithersburg, MD 20877
15720 Shady Grove Rd
Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Related Maps