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Get Your Mind in the Gutter

Eight great alleys to bowl a few frames, savor the experience
Written by Stephen Hunt. Photographs by Michael Amador.

Bowling Museum MAA 180Depending on what decade you grew up in, bowling can conjure some basic stereotypes – a group of men, who might resemble Al Bundy or Homer Simpson, congregating with like-minded souls who enjoy bowling while drinking beer and possibly smoking cigars.

Take your love of bowling to the next level with a visit to Arlington's International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame.

Well, those activities remain part of bowling, but as times have changed, alleys have evolved and now offer an array of activities for the entire family. So, if you’re looking for a great place to roll a few frames, get a nice meal or a refreshing beverage, here’s eight great spots to check out.

BB’s Billiards and Bowling

Fredericksburg

In 2004, the Hoekstra family purchased this facility and revamped everything, including the lanes, installing automatic scoring, new pool tables, video games and a snack bar.

Food at BB’s includes standard alley fare like burgers, chicken and hot dogs, but there’s also plenty of cold beer and wine. And if you’re in Fredericksburg on a Saturday night and looking for something fun, stop by for Cosmic Bowling, where competitors bowl while simultaneously contending with loud music and bright, flashing lights, an experience bordering on sensory overload.

Bowlounge

Dallas

Bowlounge’s founders wanted their Dallas Design District spot to have a truly retro vibe, so they rescued vintage bowling equipment from an alley in East Texas, which they then completely restored.

Their 12 authentic wood bowling lanes have vintage Brunswick A2 pin setters and ball returns. Bowlounge offers a disclaimer that their vintage electric scoring isn’t foolproof and can be prone to the occasional malfunction, but their menu, which includes a bucket of fried chicken, a Cholula Chicken Sandwich and a concoction called Country Boy Nachos, rolls perfect strikes across the board.  

Del-Mar Lanes

Houston

Del-Mar Lanes has been a fixture in the Bayou City for decades and this old-school spot remains popular with Houstonians because it is still all about the sport.

Sure, Del-Mar serves food, the customary offerings like fried chicken strips and okra, but its legions of loyal customers don’t come for the grub. They’re here because it’s a well-maintained and clean place that many of them grew up in, and one still dedicated to the sport they love.

Desert Strike Lanes Bowling Center

El Paso

Located at Army outpost Fort Bliss, this venue in a unique setting features 52 lanes, the Strike Zone Snack Bar, which serves everything from fried catfish to pizza and schnitzel, and a full bar, the Strike Lounge.

Of course, other activities like air hockey, pool and video games are also offered, but bowling is the prime attraction. On Friday and Saturday nights, Desert Strike goes dark but in a good way, with Desert Nightz and its glow-in-the-dark bowling.

Lucky Strike

Houston

Currently the lone Texas location of a 19-location chain which started in Hollywood in 2003, Lucky Strike offers 14 premium lanes with modern décor.

Lucky Strike also has three semi-private suites. For special occasions, their Luxe Room offers VIP treatment with four private lanes, a full bar and bottle service. Lucky Strike also scores points for including poutine and street tacos on its extensive menu.

Pin Stack

Plano

This 50,000-square foot facility which opened in 2015 is located just off the Dallas North Tollway. Besides 28 state-of-the-art lanes and a private bowling area, Pin Stack, which will be expanding to Allen and Las Colinas later this year, also has a climbing wall, laser tag, a ropes course, and a video arcade.

As for food, Pin Stack has a full-service restaurant with a chef-driven menu, a full bar, and private dining. Menu highlights include BBQ brisket and cheddar potato skins, fish tacos, the Stack Mac Burger, which includes fried mac-and-cheese, plus a nice selection of pizzas.

University Bowl

San Antonio

This Alamo city favorite offers 32 Qubica AMF High Performance Lanes, currently the highest-scoring premium lanes in the industry. University Lanes also has touch screens and the AMF Bowler Entertainment System, an interactive system allowing bowlers to use social media to tell others about their experience and connect with fellow bowlers.

Besides offering a full arcade, darts and pool, University Lanes is also home to the 11th Frame Pub, which features a great selection of specialty cocktails and craft beers from around Texas, all served at a frosty 29 degrees.

Western Bowl

Amarillo

It’s only fitting that the West Texas anchor of Amarillo has an alley called Western Bowl, isn’t it? This impressive facility features 60 lanes with automatic scoring and bumper bowling for younger bowlers who aren’t yet ready to contend with gutter balls.

This bastion of fun also has COOL Glow Bowling, where the lights go down, the music and special lighting effects come up, giving Western Lanes a nightclub-like feel. The Twisted Bar and Grill serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, offering up favorites like Chilaquiles and six different burgers.

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