Upscale, adult-focused bowling entertainment center includes Tavern ’45 restaurant.
Don’t Split: It’s 21+ after 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.*
By Hope S. Philbrick
The bowling industry leader aims to change perceptions of the typical bowling experience.
Brunswick Corporation recently opened two new bowling entertainment centers in the Atlanta area, in Marietta and Norcross. (A third will open in Buffalo Grove, Illinois this fall.)
We know what you’re thinking: ‘Entertainment Center.’ Really?
‘Bowling Alley’ is too casual a phrase for this place.
The new Brunswick’s centers have lanes and pins, all shiny and new. The furnishings are upscale, not plastic. And the electronics are state-of-the-art: There are loads of TV screens airing music videos and sporting events, a scorekeeping system that does all game-related math plus highlights which pins were toppled, which player is up and counts down remaining game time.
Also on site is Tavern ’45, an American pub serving upscale versions of classic pub fare (think burgers, pizza, tacos, salads and sandwiches). Grab a seat in the restaurant, on the patio or order right from your lane. One example of what ‘upscale’ means: The basic burger is topped not with standard iceberg lettuce but arugula. The Tavern ’45 burger is loaded with toppings including bacon and an egg. While kiddies may scoff, grownups rejoice.
On tap and in bottles the extensive beer list includes several local craft brews. The bar menu also includes cocktails, wine and non-alcoholic options.
One look around confirms this is bowling destination for grownups who prefer a romantic ambiance over grimy neon.
Beginner bowlers are welcome: There’s a full-service shoe and ball fitting station with rental equipment. Don’t know the rules? A staffer will be happy to explain.
If your luck on the lanes runs out, there’s a state-of-the-art arcade packed with video games.
“The last significant evolution of the bowling industry was 20 years ago when Brunswick Corporation invented the Cosmic Bowling experience,” said Brunswick Bowling president Jim Fox in press materials. “ Now, a new generation of leisure bowlers who want a total entertainment experience is developing; Brunswick’s has embraced these changes by offering a comfortable place to connect with each other in an authentic way and serving an approachable tavern menu.”
Bowling has become the most popular participatory sport for American adults with more than 70 million Americans reported bowling at least once in the past year. Additionally, the number of social bowlers has increased and outpaced league bowlers.
Catering to adults, we hope, will lure even more grownups up off their couches and onto the lanes.
Odds of Encountering Children: Moderate to high, yet you can get lucky. We visited on a random Tuesday, arrived at 7 p.m., dined at Brunswick’s in Tavern ’45 (where we had the whole dining room to ourselves) and then played on the lanes until 9 p.m., and never saw one teen or child. For the best odds, head there after 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday when the rules are that *anyone under 21 is not allowed unless accompanied by someone over 25. With that caveat, we withhold our top honors, 21 Plus Salute!, which are awarded to venues that are exclusive to adults. And yet we hold out hope that with sufficient requests for adults-only options, Brunswick’s will firm up its restrictions.
Brunswick’s in Marietta
2749 Delk Rd.
Marietta, GA 30067
Brunswick’s in Norcross
6345 Spalding Dr.
Norcross, GA 30092
Open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
-Photos by Austin Holt