The best bowling in the Twin Cities

  • Article by: MIKE MULLEN , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 22, 2013 - 2:21 PM

Interested in hitting the lanes during the holidays? Here’s our guide to the best bowling alleys in the Twin Cities.


Megan Zinken, 28, from St. Paul whirled one down the lane at Elsie’s in Minneapolis.

Photo: Matthew Hintz, Special to the Star Tribune

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That may be the single most gratifying sound that most of us unsporting types get to enjoy. Just about anyone can, at least once in a while, get an 11-pound ball to hit that first pin just right, setting off a wonderfully destructive and noisy domino effect.

Good thing there are dozens of bowling options around the Twin Cities. But picking the right bowling alley for your personality and mood on a given night can be a bit like finding the right ball: You wander around for a while and check the feel of a few different ones — “Oh, this one’s pink!” — until finally your fingers slip right into the holes, a perfect fit.

Finding the right time to go, well, that’s easy: after the dinner is done, the presents are opened and everyone’s tired of trying out your new XBox One. To help you figure out which lanes you belong on, we dispatched teams of amateur bowling critics to eight different spots around the Twin Cities. Here’s our guide:


Town Hall Lanes

5109 34th Av. S., Mpls. • 612-767-3354

Go here if … you like craft beer with your bowling.

At Town Hall Brewery’s new bowling outpost in south Minneapolis, you’ll find a 10-lane joint that’s family-friendly (in-house root beer!), with bright lighting and a generally cheery wait staff. As you roll, you’ll take note of the nostalgic-themed signs along the back wall, urging you to follow through and, of course, to drink beer. The family feeling dissipates with a bit of a curfew: A sign posted near the lanes warns that no first frames can start after midnight. If you make it that deep into the night, scoot over to the taphouse side of the building, where they’ll continue to serve Town Hall Brewery’s standbys, seasonals and guest brews.


Flaherty’s Arden Bowl

273 W. County Rd. E, Arden Hills • 651-633-1777 •

Go here if …our uncle is in town. Especially if he’s Irish.

Flaherty’s is the kind of place that previous generations of Minnesotans will remember visiting in their youth — indeed, it might actually be the same place. Celebrating its 75th anniversary, the alley claims to be the nation’s oldest family-owned bowling establishment. That history is depicted on Flaherty’s walls, where a series of black-and-white photos capture scenes from days gone by. The same scenes can still be found today. There’s no music, so you’ll have to content yourself with the sounds of clattering pins and chattering bowlers, including a lot of sarcastic clapping. Your uncle loves that kind of humor.


Bryant-Lake Bowl

810 W. Lake St. Mpls. • 612-825-3737 •

Go here if … you dress better than you bowl.

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