Microbrews, craft cocktails, gourmet fare and dress codes—yes, today’s bowling alleys have gone upscale. But that’s not to say we don’t still have room in our hearts for the old-school spots, with their Mortal Kombat games and ’80s-style carpet. Luckily, no matter where you go, the days of smoking at the bowling alley are gone—unless it’s those pins you just smoked with that strike.
1201 San Jacinto St. 713-343-3300. bowlluckystrike.com/locations/houston
Though the weekend wait is often hours long, bowlers adore this pricey, polished downtown venue where deejays spin tunes while you roll neon spheres down one of 14 super-slick lanes. The food here is on point, as are the cocktails—get the blackberry-basil mule. Feeling fancy? Book the VIP suite’s four private lanes, complete with top-of-the-line service.
Multiple locations, maxbowl.com
This unpretentious, up-to-date alley has cultivated a following across three locations in Baytown, Humble and Port Arthur. While adults gravitate to the Pin & Tonic bar, with its craft beer and karaoke, kids head straight for laser tag and classic skee-ball. Friday and Saturday nights bring “intergalactic cosmic bowling” complete with smoke machines and black lights.
925 Bunker Hill Rd. 713-461-1207. bowlmor.com/houston
Tucked into the leafy Memorial Villages, this popular spot boasts disco-blue lanes, billiards tables, a lounge, up-to-date arcade games, and lane- side service offering a menu of salads, burgers and pizzas. Be warned: There’s a dress code, so leave those baseball caps at home.
9307 Boone Rd. 281-933-6180. emerald-bowl.com
If you’re nostalgic for the bowling alleys of yore, this Alief destination channels simpler times with its hot dogs, rigged crane games and timeworn bowling balls. Offering an impressive 40 lanes and a spacious parking lot, the place is about nothing more— and nothing less—than knocking over pins.