Many of us used to bowl on weekends when we were younger, only because we weren’t cool enough for the popular kids' parties or old enough for the bars and clubs. Remember Cosmic Bowling? Don’t act like you don’t. Now, ironically, many of us bowl on weekends as an alternative to the same ol
' bars and clubs, and also because bowling has become, dare we say it, cool — so cool, in fact, that trendy bowling alleys are popping up all over the country. And unlike at the bowling alleys of yesteryear, you won’t regret eating at these newer spots.
That’s not to say there isn’t a place for the dingy bowling alleys of our childhoods. Some prefer no-frills bowling that doesn’t involve a dress code or pricey cocktails.
From the fanciest frames to the down and dirty lanes, these are the best bowling alleys in South Florida.
1. Kings Dining and Entertainment.
Courtesy of Kings
It’s good to be Kings. The 20,000-square-foot bowling alley in Doral has just about everything you could ask for, with 14 lanes and plenty of amenities you never knew you needed. A private karaoke suite? Nice! A rum
room with a curated list of 30 rums and a humidor for cigars? Sure. There’s a big emphasis on food, which is why Kings likes to think of itself as a restaurant first and entertainment venue second. Just look at the name of the place. The option-heavy menu includes vegetarian dishes such as buffalo wings made of cauliflower (AKA Vings) and Instagram-worthy desserts like the chocolate chip cookie dough mega shake. You also might want to consider the 64-ounce pitchers of Moscow mule or mojito while waiting for a bowling lane. Wait times have been known to get up to three hours. 3450 NW 83rd Ave., Doral; 844-494-9400; kings-de.com.
2. Basement Miami.
Photo by World RedEye
For the Miami-est bowling experience, there’s the four-lane bowling alley in Basement Miami nightclub. The balls are luminescent, the shoes were custom designed by artists, the lighting synchronizes with each bowler’s movements and the drinks aren’t exactly cheap. Hell, the bowling alley is so Miami that Pitbull filmed a music video there
. Basement Miami is also a favorite hangout for Drake, who has been known to rent out the joint when in town. But don’t let all that intimidate you. There’s a more playful vibe here than you’ll typically find in Miami Beach. At Basement’s National Bowling Day celebration
, for example, The Big Lebowski
will be shown on the projector screen and, appropriately enough, white Russians will be available for $10. Show up in a robe and you’ll be drinking slushies for free all night. “The Dude” would abide. 2901 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 786-257 4548; basementmiami.com.
3. Bird Bowl.
This nostalgic Bird Road bowling alley, with its blue checkered floors, is among the last of a dying breed. While new bowling alleys are taking over with excessive amenities to attract upscale clientele, the no-frills Bird Bowl, which opened in 1956, has mostly kept it old skool. This is the place where bowlers go to bowl
. Hence all the league action going on. You’re not going to find people snapping pics of drinks and food for the ‘Gram. Bird Bowl mostly sticks to bowling alley staples such as pitchers of beer and pizza, wings, and burgers. And let’s be honest, that’s what your average person wants anyway. The 60-lane Bird Bowl has undergone some much-needed renovations recently, but it still feels somewhat outdated. Not that we’re complaining. 9275 SW 40th St., Miami, 305-221-1221; birdbowl.com.
Specials are aplenty at this 34-lane blacklight bowling alley in Dolphin Mall. There’s an unlimited bowling special on Mondays and unlimited laser tag special on Tuesdays. Laser tag! Up to 24 people can suit up at a time. Groups can also take advantage of Bowlero’s ridiculous "Oversized Sharables" menu options, which include a two-foot Chi-Town MegaDog, five-pound Behemoth Burger, eight-pound Beast Burrito, and two-liter Pepto-Bismol bottle (OK, we made that last one up). Not one to miss out on a promotional opportunity, Bowlero will celebrate National Bowling Day by offering guests one free game of bowling on Saturday for downloading its BowlMojis sticker
pack for iPhone. 11401 NW 12th St., Miami; 305-594-0200; bowlero.com.
5. Strike 10 Bowling.
Strike 10 Bowling
Photo by Mason Kelley
What kind of bowling alley has a hookah lounge? Probably the kind that realizes the importance of standing out in a competitive industry. Besides a hookah menu with flavors such as Pumpkin Spice and Caramel Apple, this luxury bowling alley in Hallandale Beach offers a 50-foot bar and 30 HD TVs to watch the game. What about the children? Strike 10 thought about them too with its pair of minibowl
lanes, which are on the shorter side and include bumpers and lighter balls. Despite its location, Strike 10 seems to attract a famous crowd (Future, Jason Derulo, Flo Rida, Lele Pons), which is why there’s a glass case filled with pins signed by bold names on display. 801 Silks Run, Hallandale Beach; 954-417-6066; strike10bowling.com.