1117 Washington Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63101
This upscale, trendy spot is really a cocktail bar that happens to offer a dozen bowling lanes, rather than a bowling alley that happens to offer cocktails. Flamingo Bowl is in the heart of the uber-hip Washington Avenue corridor downtown, a choice spot for seeing and beeing seen on Friday and Saturday nights. If you come on a weekend, you might not get a lane at all, but that’s alright. Lots of people who come here never bowl. Order a cocktail and check out the flamingo-themed decor while you enjoy the beats from the DJ and the Washington Avenue pageantry of the STL’s young hot shots stumbling past the picture window on their way from the hookah bar to the tapas bar.
2725 Sutton Blvd.
Maplewood, MO 63143
All of the old-school entertainments are available at Saratoga. This is a place to bowl and enjoy cheap drinks, play pool or darts, listen to a jukebox or watch the game on TV. It’s the sort of place you might expect to find Fred and Barney, The Dude and his cronies or Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton. Of course, now that women have earned the right to enjoy a cool brewski and some time with friends, you’ll find them at Saratoga as well.
6191 Delmar Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63112
A popular spot for first dates, Pin-Up Bowl takes the vintage fun of bowling and mixes it with the retro vibe of a martini bar to serve up a unique experience. Pin-Up’s location, on the same block of Delmar as the Pageant and the Moonrise Hotel, scores it extra points for atmosphere. The drink menu includes a wide variety of modern and classic cocktails, plus craft and imported beers and icy shots of Jagermeister for good measure. The food menu has a hefty focus on appetizers and snacks, like hummus, nachos, toasted ravioli and, inexplicably, pop-tarts.
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3821 Lindell Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63108
Maybe you’re familiar with the entertainment complex housed in the spectacular old Moolah Shrine building. Maybe you’ve been to the movie theater, replete with leather couches, for one of the midnight shows? Well, the Moolah is also home to a rather creaky, lovable bowling alley. It’s located downstairs from the theater, and in addition to bowling lanes, it offers a ping-pong table, pool table and a jukebox with an unusually wide musical selection (opera, anyone?). The lanes and equipment could, admittedly, use some updating, but the fact that you can bowl a few lanes and then slip upstairs for a movie puts the Moolah on the favorites list.
7960 Clayton Road
St. Louis, MO 63117
Tropicana fills the bill for serious bowlers in the STL. This is the bowling alley of choice if you’re into leagues or you want to send your kids to a bowling summer camp. Did you know that bowling scholarships are available for kids who can knock down pins? Tropicana isn’t all about serious bowling, though. Sunday is family night, with all-inclusive specials that include pizza and shoes. A variety of party packages and group specials are available as well.
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Lauren Haas was the founder and publisher of The St. Louis Area Family Gazette magazine, and editor-in-chief of Marketplace Magazine. Now, Lauren is a full-time freelance writer who travels the world, using St. Louis as her base. Contact her at Lauren@LaurenHaas.com