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Bowling Alleys in Philly: The Ultimate Guide
From old-school lanes that seem frozen in the 1960s to new-school, retro-chic spots with food and cocktails, here’s where to knock down 10 pins around town.
Whether you’re looking for a family outing or a playful date night, there’s nothing quite like the nostalgic fun of bowling. You have a lot of choices around Philly: From old-school lanes that seem frozen in the 1960s to new-school, retro-chic spots with food and cocktails, here are 10 spots to go to when you want to knock down 10 pins.
This year’s Best of Philly winner for “new school” bowling alley, Brooklyn Bowl combines bowling with a live music venue, complete with a bar and restaurant. Upstairs, you’ll find 24 lanes of bowling, plus a concert stage and bar serving up beer, cocktails, and even a boozy milkshake. Plus, you can order Blue Ribbon fried chicken from downstairs to enjoy in your sofa lounge as you bowl. From live music to DJ sets, Brooklyn Bowl has a full schedule of entertainment. Families are welcome on Sundays for Family Bowl — even better if you can time it with a Rock and Roll Playhouse concert featuring classic rock (think: Beatles, Bowie, Prince) and kids’ activities to get the whole family jamming.
Cost: $25-$30 per lane (up to eight people), plus $5 per person for shoe rentals.
1009 Canal Street, Fishtown.
When this “contemporary bowling lounge” opened in Center City in 2006, it signaled a new era of bowling alleys — sleeker, more alcoholic. The lounge-y vibes and a full-service bar and kitchen serving cocktails, pizzas, apps, and other refreshments made for a step-up from your standard bowling experience, and kids weren’t allowed in after dark. Soon, North (and South) Bowl would follow (see below), making it clear that this was no one-off. In addition to 24 lanes of bowling, the two-story Lucky Strike also has ping-pong, billiards, and shuffleboard. Kids are welcome (with an adult) before 8 p.m., but after that it’s 21-and-older only.
Cost: $16 (Sunday through Thursday)-$22 (Friday and Saturday) per person, per hour. Reserve online.
1336 Chestnut Street, Center City.
Quickly following Lucky Strike in the summer of 2006, North Bowl took over a former auto mechanic’s garage in NoLibs and became a reason to visit the neighborhood. (It was the mid-2000s — just the beginning of Northern Liberties being called up-and-coming.) The retro-chic vibes, the tater tots, it was all very exciting. North Bowl boasts 17 bowling lanes (13 on the main floor, plus four upstairs if you want to rent out a private party), plus billiards, foosball, air hockey, arcade games, pinball, and a vintage photo booth. In addition to the full menu, there are two full-sized bars, as well as a third seasonal outdoor bar, the Lot Bar. Kids are welcome (with an adult) before 9 p.m., and they even offer bumpers and ramps to make it easier for little ones. After 9 p.m., North Bowl is 21-and-older only. Lanes are first-come, first-served; no reservations (aside from private events).
Cost: $7-$8 per person, per game, plus $5 per person for shoe rentals.
909 North 2nd Street, Northern Liberties.
In case the similar name didn’t tip you off, this is North Bowl’s younger sister who lives in South Philly (and likes to play lawn games). But instead of a mechanic’s in Northern Liberties, South Bowl’s retro aesthetic took over a cold-storage warehouse. The similarly massive bi-level complex houses bowling lanes (including two potential private bowling areas for parties), billiards, darts, retro arcade games; plus two full bars and a menu with pizzas, tacos, and other crowd-pleasing snacks. The fun continues outside with a roof deck and the seasonal Yard — an outdoor space with its own bar and lounge, as well as two 40-foot-long bocce ball courts, shuffleboard, pool, and slow- and fast-pitch batting cages. Kids are welcome (with an adult) before 9 p.m., and they even offer bumpers and ramps to make it easier for little ones. After 9 p.m., South Bowl is 21-and-older only. Lanes are first-come, first-served; no reservations (aside from private events).
Cost: $7-$8 per person per game (cash only), plus $5 per person for shoe rentals.
19 East Oregon Avenue, South Philly.
One of the newest spots on the list, Round1 moved into the third floor of the Fashion District just before the pandemic happened, so it feels even newer than it is. Taking up over 60,000 square feet of the former Gallery II space, Round1 has 14 lanes of bowling, along with over 250 arcade games as well as billiards, ping-pong, darts and karaoke. There’s also a bar and food menu (no surprises here: pizza, fries, wings and ice cream).
Cost: $11 per person, per hour, plus $4 per person for shoe rentals.
1001 Market Street, suite 3010, Center City.
If sleek, massive, new-school bowling alleys are just not what you’re looking for, head to the tiny vintage PEP Bowl, whose website tells me their facility dates back to the 1950s. They’ve only got six lanes, but they’re much more affordable than their flashy counterparts — and you can bring your own food and drinks (including alcohol). Another plus: You can feel good about bowling here because you’ll be supporting Programs Employing People (PEP), which helps provide employment and other support services to people with developmental disabilities in the Philadelphia area. Reservations are required to bowl here; no walk-ins accepted.
Cost: Weekdays: $5 per person, per game, plus $4 per person for shoe rentals. Fridays and Saturdays: $50 per lane, per hour for up to six people. See their specials page for discounts.
1200 South Broad Street, South Philly.
This is exactly what you’d imagine an old-school bowling alley in the Northeast would look like, times two. The Boulevard location (Castor Avenue) has 16 lanes, while the Holme Avenue location has 36. Both have bumpers for little ones, birthday party packages, snack bars, and the same carpet you remember from the ’90s. (I remember the Willow Grove location from the ’90s, but, sadly, that one has closed.)
Cost: Varies by location, time of day/week, and more. You can bowl for as little as $2 (plus $4 per person for shoe rentals) if you come to the Holme Avenue location late on a Sunday night, or reserve an entire lane for two hours (for up to four people) for $65. See their respective websites for details and specials.
3075 Holme Avenue and 5830 Castor Avenue, Northeast Philly.
Another classic old-school spot, Wynnewood Lanes has been family-owned since 1962, and it shows. The Delco spot has 24 bowling lanes (including kid-friendly bumper bowling lanes and ramps), a snack bar, arcade games, and are perfect for a retro night out.
Cost: Monday through Friday: $2.25-$5 per game or $20-$30 per hour, per lane; weekends: $29.95 per hour, per lane. Plus $3.50 per person for shoe rentals.
2228 Haverford Road, Ardmore.
This year’s Best of Philly winner for old-school bowling, this suburban gem opened in 1959 and still has that retro feel. They’ve got 24 bowling lanes, kid-friendly bumpers and ramps, and arcade games. Bonus, it’s BYO!
Cost: $3-$5.50 per person, per game depending on age and day; plus $4 per person for shoe rentals. (Also look out for $10 three-hour limitless bowling on Tuesday through Thursday nights.) On weekend nights, bowling will run you $12 per person, per hour. You can also reserve a lane for $45 per hour. See their website for more pricing details and specials.
300 West Lancaster Avenue, Devon.
Arnold’s Family Fun Center
This 150,000-square-foot indoor family wonderland has a huge arcade, bumper cars, climbing, bouncing, indoor mini-golf, laser tag, and 20 lanes of bowling. You’re probably not coming here just for the bowling, but if you are, you do you.
Cost: $5-$6 per person, per game, plus $4 per person for shoe rentals; or $30-$38 (plus shoes) for a one-hour lane rental.
2200 West Drive, Oaks.
Bonus: Harp & Crown
Underneath this lush Michael Schulson restaurant, you may be surprised to find a subterranean speakeasy with a two-lane bowling alley. If you’re lucky enough to snag a spot as a walk-in, you can sip cocktails and order off the full menu downstairs.
Cost: $100 per lane, per hour for up to eight people (includes shoe rentals).
1525 Sansom Street, Rittenhouse.