Nightlife: Our Favorite Bowling Alleys

Nothing beats back the funk of winter like a trip to the lanes.

Photo by Hryck on Flickr

In the final month of winter, people start getting grumpy. As March descends, Pittsburghers grow tired of the darkness and freezing rain. That’s when they should go bowling. Nothing says “indoor awesomeness” like a row of open lanes and an empty computer screen just waiting to keep score. Bowling is family-friendly, of course, but some alleys cater to the nightlife set.

Here’s a sample of independent bowling alleys around town — locally operated, adult-friendly and ready for action. Strike hard.

Arsenal Bowling Lanes
Ask anybody in Lawrenceville: Arsenal Lanes is an institution. The brick building that houses Arsenal is a behemoth that looms over Butler Street, and inside there are two vast rooms of open lanes and a separate bar to visit between games. Live bands and all-you-can-bowl nights abound.

(212 44th and Butler Street, Lawrenceville; 412/683-5992,

Legacy Lanes
At Legacy Lanes, bowling is just the tip of the iceberg; there’s also an arcade, laser tag and a regular lineup of live bands. Kids can play any game imaginable, and parents can cavort at the Golden Rule Bar & Grill.

(5024 Curry Road, South Hills; 412/653-2695,

Forward Lanes
Deep within Squirrel Hill, Forward Lanes is a no-frills tribute to 1950s-era bowling. Simple and inexpensive, Forward boasts a snack bar that serves beer, soft drinks and hot dogs.

(5844 Forward Ave., Squirrel Hill; 412/422-5844,

Princess Lanes
Bowling Center Corona specials? Monday one-dollar burger deals? Wings with Thai chili sauce? Before you even divvy up teams, Princess Lanes is already fantastic, thanks to Prior’s Tap & Tavern. There’s even cosmic bowling.

(540 Weyman Road, South Hills; 412/882-5557,

The Wizard of Oz with the PSO
“Somewhere over the rainbow/skies are blue …” From the moment Judy Garland sang that first line, she won over generations of fans. With its mythic tornado, Wicked Witch, flying monkeys and three enchanted friends, it’s no wonder that The Wizard of Oz is dedicated to “the Young in Heart.” And just when you thought Oz couldn’t get more magical, the 1939 blockbuster gets live accompaniment from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Seeing the movie on the big screen at Heinz Hall should wow audiences — but hearing the score played by Pittsburgh’s finest musicians will further add to the experience.

(600 Penn Ave., downtown; March 14-17; 412/456-6666,

CineBrunch at The Oaks Theater
The plot of Tennessee Williams’ fifth play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, contains an interesting mix of matters (such as alcoholism and illness), yet it was produced onstage a number of times and even made it to the big screen in 1958. Starring Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman as Maggie (aka “the Cat”) and Brick, Cat tells a tale of desire, deceit and reality. The Oaks Theater will screen the flick this month, as part of its CineBrunch series; on the second Saturday of every month, guests visit The Oaks to enjoy light fare from Oakmont Bakery before watching the featured film.

(310 Allegheny River Blvd., Oakmont; March 9; reservations must be made online by March 8; 412/828-6322,

Categories: Things To Do