BEST BOWLING ALLEY Minneapolis 2006 - Elsie's Bowling Center
729 Marshall St. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
No matter how much bowling alleys try to look like freshmen dorm rooms once the sun goes down, bowling will never be hip, not really. Throw all the dumb black lights and drink specials you want into the game, and it will still be undertaken seriously only by a certain breed of player—and it ain't that dude in the ironic thrift-shop duds perfecting his granny shot in the lane next to you. Which is why, when judging an alley's value, none of the bells and whistles are nearly as important as basic lane maintenance. In that respect, Elsie's excels. Its acre of lanes is routinely oiled to an even sheen, meaning bowlers can always depend on the grip of their balls and the hook of their shots. For fun-loving rollers who are more interested in the between-frame animations on their scoreboard than their actual scores, Elsie's serves as an old-school entertainment center, with a great bar, a full restaurant, and plenty of pinball. The bar features a lively karaoke scene to drown out the strikes-and-gutters din, and the nightly all-you-can-bowl special after the leagues wind down ($9.95 including shoes) ranks Elsie's as not only the best bowling arena in town but one of the cheapest, too. Just try not to let the black lights bug you too much.