Chicago is well known for a lot of things – bars, blues and one the most beautiful skylines in the country. But, bowling alleys? It might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Chicago, but this small round-up of bowling alleys from the laid back to the over-the-top, just might change your mind.
3700 N. Western
Located on Chicago’s north side, not too far from trendy Roscoe Village, this historic alley has been open since 1959, literally! Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, this Chicago staple, they say, has been open for more than 400,000 hours and counting. And yes, people do go bowling at 6 a.m., you know…to beat the crowds.
WB features 40 lanes and some of the best prices in the city. Depending on what time of the day you drop in, prices range from $1.50 per game up to $6.00. The higher prices are generally on weekends and during “Cozmic Bowling” hours. With the exception of Wednesdays, “Cozmic Bowling” is offered every day of the week and it’s an event that shouldn’t be missed. Fog machines and strobe lights set against a black backdrop are sure to get the party started. Throw in some music and a few pitchers of beer and you’re good to go.
There’s something for everyone at WB. Adults can select from a list of over 200 cocktails from the lounge and a variety of different food choices from the kitchen. Gyros, tamales, egg rolls, hot dogs, Italian sausage, pizza, whatever you’re in the mood for WB has it and it’s all made to order.
2648 W. Fullerton
Fireside Bowl has been through the ringer-open 60 years and counting, this infamous bowling alley has been the subject of “closing rumors” for years-but it never closes. This Logan Square hang, was more of a punk-rock music venue (sprinkled with a little bowling action) for a good 10 years, but with recent renovations and updates, FB has decided to get back to the basics once and for all-bowling. Pros and novices alike can enjoy a comfortable 16 lanes with “occasional” rock shows. Pool tables are also available as well as a decent list of beers ranging from PBR and Miller to Guinness and Harp. There’s plenty of street parking available and a free lot as well.
So, if you love the game of bowling and you want to keep it simple (but fun), Fireside Bowl is one of the best places to go.
Monday-Tuesday, open bowl starting at 10 p.m., Wednesday-Sunday, open bowl starting at 6 p.m., Sunday-Thursday $15 an hour, Friday-Saturday, $20 an hour.
3325 N. Southport
Located in Chicago’s West Lakeview neighborhood, Southport Lanes is a great place for casual bowling without all the bells and whistles of a larger bowling alley. This local hangout for the thirty-something set has only four lanes, but it’s one of only 10 bowling alleys in the country that still has human pin-setters! Wait, who’s back there? What’s going on? SP is a bit pricey for it’s size, ($20-30 per hour), but its well worth it to take a trip back in time. Oh, and there’s lots of extras too-pool tables, golden tee and SP serves up some of the best pub grub in the city featuring menu items like: black bean BBQ burgers and buffalo chicken sandwiches and they also offer a large selection of bottled and draft beers. From Bohemia, Becks and Blue Moon to Hoegarden, Hefe Weizen and Woodchuck Cider, with so many beers to choose from, you’ll have plenty to do while you wait your turn.
If you can, check out Southport Lanes during the week. Weekends are super packed.
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 4 p.m.-2 a.m.; Friday, noon-2 a.m.; Saturday noon-3 a.m.; Sunday noon-1 a.m.
And one for the road……..
Diversey River Bowl
2211 W. Diversey
Lights, cameras, action! Seriously, they really do have cameras here-if you’re waiting for one of the 36 lanes at this Logan Square alley, be prepared to say “cheese.” Things can get hectic here, so they have to have a system to track you down. Colorful light shows & smoke machines, a variety of arcade games like air hockey and full swing golf, and a huge selection of bottled beer, beers on tap and cocktails, attracts couples, singles and families from Lincoln Park to Rogers Park.
Prices range from $19 per hour, per lane during the week to $32 on weekends. Sundays are $26 per hour, per lane. The light show, featuring all of the latest hits, runs Wednesday-Fridays from 11 p.m.-2 a.m., Thursday and Sunday 8:30 p.m.-2 a.m. and Saturdays 9 p.m.-3 a.m.
Hungry? DRB has a full dessert bar, pastries, and a wide variety of appetizers, platters and trays as well as main dishes like chicken, pastas and pizza.
Hours: Sunday-Friday, noon to 2:00 a.m.; Saturdays -September-May, 9 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.; June-August, noon to 3:00am