Best Of

Best Bowling Lanes


We live in an age in which the bowling alley, as an institution, functions as a jazzy nightclub for teens, most featuring TV screens above every lane and something called “laser bowl night.” The Gutter, on the other hand, truthfully touts that “we never turn the lights off so you can always see your friends react to you getting a turkey. XXX.” (Slow clap.) In 2007, Jon Miller and Paul Kermizian, the guys behind Barcade, airlifted eight lanes piece by piece from Ohio (and also, apparently, from the 1970s). Accurate preservation of this heartland treasure was top priority for the two, who meticulously reconstructed it, right down to the portraits of past champs hanging on the wall and the vintage ads for Milwaukee beers (Drink Schlitz!). The blue-collar charm isn’t entirely ironic: At $7 a game and $3 a shoe rental, the Gutter offers some of the city’s cheapest bowling. Also, it’s 21 and up, so no kids’ birthday parties to rattle your roll. Speaking of grown-up activities, the bar offers bargain beers and pitchers, there’s a pool table to boot, and bowlers are welcome to order in food to chow in the wonderfully dingy booths. Swing by on a Friday or Saturday to catch the $5 rock shows in the Spare Room, the Gutter’s adjoining hole-in-the-wall performance space.

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