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Best Bowling Alley Minneapolis 2014 - Ran-Ham Bowling Center

Ran-Ham Bowling Center

Ran-Ham Bowling Center

490 Hamline Ave. S

St Paul, MN 55105

651-698-0252

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Readers' Choice: Bryant-Lake Bowl

They don't make 'em like they used to — especially not like Ran-Ham. Built during the 1920s, these are some of the oldest bowling lanes you'll encounter in the Twin Cities, but that's not to say you can't throw some balls around. This tiny bowling alley isn't going for the ultra-polished retro look — it's just old and sturdy as they come. In a bar area that feels more like a hallway when it's packed to the brim, you'll find dollar bills that haven't seen sunlight in decades stuck to the ceiling and chairs. There are murals along the sides of the lanes: retro-futuristic robots dueling with mustard and ketchup. And there's no electronic scoring on the lanes — the only scorekeeping done here is by hand. You'll get close to your fellow bowlers by necessity, since the place is cozier than your average bowling alley, and it'll make the experience all the richer. This Highland Park institution is squished between the Nook and Shamrocks on Randolph and Hamline Avenues in St. Paul — get it, Ran-Ham? — and visitors have to descend a flight of stairs into the basement before they can bowl. No matter, Ran-Ham and its eccentricities are like stepping into the past without the kitsch — a little gritty, very worn in, and definitely sans those obnoxious cosmic bowling nights.

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