21 Plus Salute!
By Hope S. Philbrick
Based on my non-scientific observations, parenthood is like a witness protection program: Once friends have a baby, they disappear from established social circles, ditching those of us who are happily kid-free as if we no longer have anything in common.
The fact that at least one of the founders of The Painted Pin in Atlanta, Ga., was a new father at the time he dreamed up this place suggests, to me anyway, that he didn’t want to completely ditch the life he’d enjoyed up to that point. He created a place where he and his friends could continue to hang out, even if some babysitters needed to be hired.
That, in and of itself, is super cool. But the real “strike” is that The Painted Pin offers high-quality food and drink that rivals trendy contemporary Southern bistros, a range of entertainment options from bowling to ping pong and more, an ambiance that evokes an exclusive yet welcoming British club—and it’s strictly 21+.
There’s a bowling renaissance going on across America: Growing numbers of bowling venues offer an upscale experience unlike the smoke-and-beer filled alleys of the past. Many upscale bowling centers offer some adults-oriented programming—we’ve reviewed two so far, here and here—but, as if designed especially with Getaways for Grownups readers in mind, The Painted Pin is exclusively for adults. 21 Plus Salute!
We genuinely dig this place, from its concept to its realized vibe, its menu to its food quality, cocktail expertise, service offerings and décor. We’re not alone: When Bowler’s Journal International Magazine handed out its architecture and design awards—honorees hailed from Germany, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Las Vegas and beyond—it named The Painted Pin “The Best New Boutique Center” and pictured it on the cover.
To create The Painted Pin, owners Justin Amick and William Stallworth partnered with architect Jay George, RA of WJG Design, Inc and design partners Bob Amick of Concentrics Restaurants + HospitalityWoodworks.
The industrial warehouse space offers 20 full-service bowling lanes, two customized indoor bocce courts, two oversized basketball pop-a-shots, table shuffleboard, ping pong, skee-ball and Southern skittles. There’s a big bar, leather couches and some quirky works of art.
If you’re here to bowl, once you’ve snagged a lane an attendant delivers shoes, menu orders, wet-wipes (for your hands and, since there’s a lot of finger food on the menu, to wipe the balls), and attend to other random issues like stuck pins.
Chef Thomas Collins’ menu offers an array of wood fired pizzas, tacos, sandwiches and small plates. Acclaimed mixologist and bar manager Trip Sandifer serves up signature and classic cocktails and craft beer while owner and Advanced Sommelier, Justin Amick, offers a top notch wine program. You could come here just to eat and drink and be perfectly satisfied. But let loose and play, paying attention to the scoreboard only if you sincerely care.
Bowling, thirsty and impatient? You’re covered: The Painted Pin is the first bowling alley in the world to have lane-side P.Y.O.B. beer tabs (pour your own beer) courtesy of Table Tap LLC’s TableTender. Cheers!
Spend an hour or a whole evening here and it’s easy to believe The Painted Pin may preserve more than a few friendships as well as some harried new parents’ sense of self. It provides tasty food and fun times, sure, and also fodder for conversations.
The Painted Pin is where grownups can hang with friends and hide from the kids.
We score it a perfect 300.
The Painted Pin
737 Miami Circle NE
Atlanta, GA 30324
Odds of Encountering Children: Guaranteed to be zero, daily after 5 p.m. 21 Plus Salute! Note, however, children are permitted on Saturdays and Sundays before 5 p.m.
@21plusTravel Tip: Call ahead to verify admittance. While The Painted Pin does not accept reservations, some nights it’s completely sold out for private events.
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion. Thanks to The Painted Pin for hosting my visit.