Bryant Lake Bowl // 810 W. Lake St., Minneapolis // 612-825-3737 // bryantlakebowl.com
You’re planning a bowling double date. You eat meat, but only if it’s local and organic. Your partner is vegetarian, and the other couple is vegan. You all want to drink great beer, eat great food, and bowl a few frames without having to jump around to a bunch of different places. There is only one answer to your high criteria date night riddle – Bryant Lake Bowl. The few old school wooden lanes and vintage signs are highlights of this Uptown joint, but the ever-rotating beer list is the real draw. Sip on selections from Odell’s like the Loose Leaf American Session Ale; Surly Schadenfreude; Indeed’s L.S.D.; Peace Tree Brewing’s Blonde Fatale, or a cask ale from the beer engine. The cabaret theater next door recently premiered Crafting a Nation, a documentary that follows the growth of the craft beer industry throughout a handful of states, including Minnesota. Bowlers in the know go on Sunday nights when games are just $2 and many local beers are discounted.
Elsie’s // 729 Marshall Ave. NE, Minneapolis // 612-378-9701 // elsies.com
Because of all the leagues that meet and compete at Elsie’s, open bowling doesn’t start until 10:00 p.m. on most weeknights, but this Northeast gem is a great late-night destination. The lane lights go down, the neon wall decals create their own special 90s ambiance, and the pitchers of beer get flowing. You can order everything from Grain Belt Premium and Blue Moon to Left Hand’s Milk Stout and New Belgium’s Fat Tire. Not so much a night owl? Elsie’s serves a killer, cheap breakfast every day of the week so you can fuel up with a few Bloody Marys and beer backs, crispy hashbrowns, and eggs any way you like them before hitting the lanes for an early game, starting at 9:00 a.m. Sunday through Friday and 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays. If the Vegas Lounge is too packed for you to take a stab at that 4 Non Blondes song, Elsie’s karaoke is less of a waiting game.
Town Hall Lanes // 5019 34th Ave. S., Minneapolis // 612-840-5573 // townhallbrewery.com
Take all the elements that make Town Hall Brewery at Seven Corners and Town Hall Tap at 48th & Chicago work so well – their own award-winning brews, elevated bar food, and well-trafficked neighborhood locations – and apply them to a bowling alley setting. You’ve got Town Hall Lanes, the newest Twin Cities bowling establishment on our list. Town Hall’s overhaul of the former Sky Lane Bowling alley in Nokomis East has all new synthetic lanes with an updated pin-setter, ball return, and scoring system. There’s a full-service kitchen and bar featuring top shelf liquors and a few specialty cocktails, including a White Russian as a nod to the The Big Lebowski. And of course, there’s lots of good beer – 26 tap lines of it, to be exact. Nine of those lines are dedicated to Town Hall’s own beers like the sneak-up-on-you Masala Mama IPA and refreshing Weizenbock, and the rest are reserved for a rotating selection of local and regional guest beers. Owner Pete Rifakes says they’ll put extra emphasis on getting hard-to-find ciders, like the ones from Aspall and Domaine Dupont, to go with all the flatbreads that are sure to become their signature.
Park Tavern // 3401 Louisiana Ave. S., St. Louis Park // 952-929-6810 // parktavern.net
“Eat. Drink. Bowl. Party” pretty much sums up the recommended order of activities at this impressive entertainment complex. Though bowling is still the main event here, Park Tavern offers several different zones. Relax in the restaurant area. Play arcade games, darts, pinball, and pool in the 11th Frame room. Watch the big game on one of the many big screen TVs, or belly up to the bar where the beer list is sure to bowl you over (sorry, I had to do it just once). Of the 37 beers on tap, most are craft beers local to Minnesota and Wisconsin, with a special spotlight on beers from neighbor St. Louis Park establishment Steel Toe Brewery. With 45 more craft options in bottles ranging from Rogue Dead Guy to Odell 90 Shilling Scotch ale, four standard Belgians, and a full list of gluten-free and gluten-reduced options including a handful of ciders and two brews from Omission Beer in Portland, Park Tavern really goes above and beyond in terms of variety. Their whole hot wings aren’t bad either.
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Great article! Far out, man. Far f-ing out!