Not everyone is a serious bowler, but heading out to the lanes for some good-natured fun is a beloved pastime for active adults. There is nothing more rewarding than the sound of a bowling ball connecting with a lot of pins—especially when you are the one who threw the ball!
Nowadays, state-of-the-art bowling alleys include restaurants, bars, light shows, automatic scoring, and wide-screen TVs. Some have private rooms for parties; most offer bowling leagues. Those who prefer more traditional bowling centers also have their pick.
Even if your bowling ball tends to drift towards the gutters, going bowling with family and friends is time well spent. Here are some of the best alleys that New Jersey has to offer.
The Funplex - Mount Laurel and East Hanover
With two separate locations in Burlington County and Morris County, The Funplexes are indoor/outdoor entertainment venues with year-round activities including bowling. The Mount Laurel locale has 16 lanes with lights and music. Patrons can order hot food and have it delivered right to their lanes as they are bowling. This indoor complex also has an arcade, go-karts, bumper cars, laser tag, and more. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, guests can enjoy an outdoor amusement park that features a splash park, mini golf, water slides, a roller coaster, and more.
The East Hanover Funplex also has Hologate, a virtual reality adventure. Both Funplexes use admission wristbands, which average around $25.00. They also have specials, group rates, and season passes. These parks are geared towards families and are great places to take your grandchildren if you don’t mind the noise.
Pinsetter Bar & Bowl - Pennsauken
This retro-style modern bowling alley was reincarnated from the old Maple Lanes Bowling Alley, which has given it a very loyal following. Pinsetter Bar & Bowl has 34 lanes, a modern Qubica AMF scoring system to keep things moving, and high-definition monitors.
And that’s not all, its owner proudly stated that Pinsetters is not a “snack bar bowling alley.” Its kitchen is staffed by six employees and a head chef. The menu includes appetizers, sandwiches, pizza, soups, salads, and desserts. There is also a separate sports bar with an expansive craft beer selection and seasonal cocktails. There are also nightly bowling specials, like Bottomless Bowl, which features unlimited bowling Sundays through Thursdays from 9 p.m. until close.
Pinsetter’s leagues play on Monday and Thursday nights and are open to all.
Kingpin Bowl - Egg Harbor Township
Serious bowlers in the Atlantic City area head to Kingpin Bowl for strikes, spares, and great competition. Recently renovated, it has 40 professional-grade lanes and a pro shop. Bowlers who also like to party can stop in on weekend nights after 9:30 p.m. for music, dancing, and black lights.
The 300 Lounge restaurant and bar has a long menu with cheesesteaks, fajitas, paninis, sliders, burgers, and chicken. Its full bar features specialty drinks like sour apple martinis and “Fuzzy Things” (ask at the bartender!). Daytime bowling runs around $3.75+ per game with slightly higher evening prices. Kingpin also has bowling leagues.
Stryxe - Madison
This venue has created something new, branded bowling. It focuses on the user’s overall entertainment experience. This may sound unusual, but that’s because Stryxe is not a typical bowling alley. It does have 20 regulation lanes and offers basic ten-frame bowling. But, it also has touchscreen displays that offer over 30 interactive variations for players to try. These can be customized with pictures and themes. The displays even have an option for live chats between the lanes.
There is also a parlor with pool tables, ping pong, and shuffleboard, while an amusement room features arcade games. The Eatery restaurant has a dining room and all orders can be brought to your lanes. The menu includes burgers, pizzas, and sandwiches, plus a full bar. Stryxe has happy hours, dining specials, and bowling specials, like a free shoe rental with two games on Sundays.
Thunderbird Lanes - Wrightstown and Manahawkin
These family-owned-and-operated bowling alleys are not as big as some of their competitors, but they have retro charm and are run well. Customers rave about Thunderbird Lanes friendly customer service, clean facilities, and reasonable prices. Both centers offer open and league bowling.
The Wrightstown location opened back in 1958, serving local families and bowlers from nearby Fort Dix. The family later expanded its enterprise by opening a second alley in Manahawkin.
Wrightstown has 24 wooden lanes, a pro shop, an arcade, and a full bar. Games are $3.75 each on weekdays with some reduced price specials, including $1 games for ages 55+ on Mondays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The recently renovated Manahawkin center also has 24 wooden lanes and an arcade. Weekday games run around $4.50 with specials such as $2.50 games on Sunday nights from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Jersey Lanes - Linden
Jersey Lanes is also a family-owned operation. It has 42 state-of-the-art bowling lanes, a game room, and food and drink. Although it is no-frills, Jersey Lanes does have its own app that allows bowlers to reserve lanes ahead of time.
Weekday games cost around $3.00 each with reduced prices offered for active adults. Popular leagues and tournaments at Jersey Lanes run the gamut from friendly to competitive, and anyone is welcome to join.