Nightlife & Music

Best Bowling Alleys For A Night Out In Charlotte

February 6, 2014 8:00 AM

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A bowling ball strikes the pins in the 1
Bowling, once hugely popular, is making a comeback as an activity for both families and couples. Many of today’s bowling alleys double as entertainment centers, filled with arcades, video games, laser tag and other activities ideal for family outings, a welcome option when the weather turns too cold (or too hot or too wet) for outdoor fun. Food and drink options at alleys have expanded as well. While beer and pizza have long been associated with bowling alley snack bars, today many 10-pin spots are expanding their offerings with extensive menus, chef-driven kitchens and full cocktail service. Some have even made the leap to nightclub status, hosting music, dancing and party nights that continue the evening well past the fall of the final pin.
10 Park Lanes
1700 Montford Drive
Charlotte, NC 28209
(704) 523-7633

Since it opened in 1960, 10 Park Lanes has remained Charlotte’s favorite place to bowl and a number one pick for birthday parties. Last year, however, a group of new owners, all Park Lanes regulars, took over and have made the Montford Drive landmark better than ever. The bowling facility has been lovingly restored with synthetic lanes and old-style wooden approaches, making it a favorite with bowling purists. The rest of the building has been transformed into a full-service restaurant and bar offering a wide range of entertainment, both inside and on the spacious heated outdoor patio, where you can play bocce, cornhole or ping pong, or watch sports on one of 30 large screen TVs. Weekly events include live music, dancing to DJs Friday and Saturday, retro bowling on Monday nights and many special party nights. The restaurant menu, served open to close, includes a huge selection, but the specialty here is delicious barbecue smoked onsite. Over 30 draft beers, including lots of local brews, are available in the lounge, as well as ice-cold moonshine on tap.
AMF Carolina Lanes
11210 Brigman Road
Matthews, NC 28105
(704) 841-7606

The largest of the AMF bowling centers in the Charlotte area, this Matthews spot offers 56 lanes plus a variety of other entertainment options including billiards, shuffleboard and the Carolina Racing Experience with state-of-the-art simulators. The Laneside Grill serves meals and snacks, including noteworthy loaded fries, nachos and classic pizzas. Enjoy a beer at the separate bar where you’ll find plenty of flat-screen TVs tuned to sports. For a special night out, sign up for the AMF Pizza Bowl and enjoy pizza and bowling at a special price for up to six people per lane, or come on College Night for Xtreme glow-in-the-dark bowling. Other AMF bowling centers in the Charlotte area include Centennial Lanes on South Boulevard and University Lanes on North Tryon.

Related: Charlotte Bars With The Best Arcade Games

Northcross Lanes At The Lake
16317 Statesville Road
Huntersville, NC 28078
(704) 892-7177

This 40-lane facility off I-77N at exit 25 has lots of fun special events as well as laser tag and a video arcade. For adults, the 41st Lane Lounge offers full cocktail service with nightly drink specials, billiards, karaoke and occasional live music. The snack bar serves plenty of appetizers, burgers, wings and pizza to make a full meal. Wednesday is ladies night at Northcross with free billiards for women.
Sports Connection Family Entertainment Center
1611 Ardrey Kell Road
Charlotte, NC 28277
(704) 583-1444

Bowling is just one of many activities at the Sports Connection in Ballantyne. In addition to some of the newest 10-pin lanes in Charlotte, the immense facility houses a wide range of activities for every age group, including the Jump-N-Play Inflatable Zone, laser tag arena, Spin Zone high-tech bumper cars, indoor rock climbing, numerous video games from flight simulators to Lazer Frenzy and the Sky Trail Ropes Course, strung high above the arcade room. For 10-pin novices, mini bowling is fun for all ages, with no bowling shoes or lane reservations required. The Connection Café offers menu items to please every age as well, from mac-n-cheese and hot dogs to Angus burgers and panini, with beer and wine available for adults. WiFi access is free throughout the building.
Strike City
210 E. Trade St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
(704) 716-9300

StrikeCity, in the Center City’s EpiCentre, takes bowling to the sophisticated limit, adding a nightclub atmosphere and award-winning Italian cuisine to the 18 lanes of high-tech 10-pin. This is one of the city’s most comprehensive sports bars, with 75 high-def TVs and satellite packages providing total game coverage. The food here is provided by Libretto’s, long a famous name in mid-town Manhattan, and the menu includes classics ranging from family-recipe pastas, meatball sliders and tiramisu to authentic New York City-style pizza pies, available whole or by the slice. Three bars provide cocktails and late at night, the huge dance floor and state-of-the-art audio/video system crank up for high-energy dancing into the wee hours.

Related: Best Clubs With Valet Parking In Charlotte

With 15 years of experience covering restaurants in Charlotte and the Carolinas, and two regional guidebooks under her belt, Renee Wright examines the dining scene with enthusiasm plus a deep knowledge of food trends and outstanding local eating ops. Her work can be found at

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