But first, wisdom from the sages:
-Ernie McCracken, [Bill Murray in Kingpin]
-Walter Sobchak [John Goodman in The Big Lebowsky]
Yes! Yes indeed.
Pine City Hotel Bowling Center
Year Opened: 1997
The Stats: Ten lanes -- all in pristine condition.
Shoe Sizes: 34 to 48 (Note: All shoes sizes with this article are in Euro.)
Prices: 10rmb to 25rmb per set; 12pm-9pm, daily.
F&B: Bevies from 5rmb to 15rmb.
The Vibe: Like a salty bingo hall. In addition to the main event, Pine City Hotel Bowling Center also hosts ping pong, billiards, and dancing, all for a very ornery group of Chinese veteran cadre members (老干部). It's open to the public but there's no question who's running the show here.
So, yeah, great for chilling with the elderly and learning about the founding of the PRC between sets. Be warned: Some of them get a little grumpy because this is their hang-out. No photos of them without asking. Or you can do a sneaky snap like I did and get asked to delete it post haste by a super pissed grandpa.
This is our number one recommendation because the thought of funneling a few hundred SmartShanghai readers their way fills us with no small amount of delight.
Year Opened: September, 2015
The Sitch: 24 lanes, four mini lanes for kids.
Shoe Sizes: 28 to 50
Prices: 25rmb to 45rmb per set, daily. Runs: 9am-12.30pm. Special deals: Free from 9am-12pm on Mondays, reservation is required.
F&B: 8rmb to 25rmb for beverages; 18rmb for a pint of Qingdao draft beer. Coffee, tea, and soda on offer. You can bring food to the game but not drinks.
The Vibe: Chinese families are the regulars here since they have the four mini lanes for kids decorated with cartoons and things. 40% expats on weekends, though, because it's got a pretty good location right inside the Luwan Sport Center. At night it turns into a night club with neon lights and other dazzling effects (and affectations.) It's the newest and biggest bowling spot in Shanghai -- 24 lanes -- and even has a nice patio. Thumbs up.
DJbo (Ding Jie Bowling Center)
Year Opened: 2009
The Deets: 20 lanes with two mini lanes for kids. This is the only place that has a professional PBA bowling player on staff, doing technical maintenance on the bowling equipment. Here he is.
Shoe Sizes: 31 to 49
Prices 15rmb to 30rmb per set, daily. Runs 9am to 11pm.
F&B: 5rmb 15rmb for beverages and 10rmb to 20rmb for the snacks. You can bring food but not drinks.
The Vibe: It's all about professional and serious athletes here, and it even shares a complex with Yao Ming's own official basketball club upstairs. Expats and overseas students from the area are their regulars. They've also got the neon lights vibe at night but it's a little more subdued. Good service. Professionally run. Go play billiards if you get bored of playing bowing; they've got six tables for that.
Here's the famous people that they ambushed for their support.
Orden Bowling Center
Year Opened: 1996 -- big year for bowling alleys.
The Stats: 16 very spiffy lanes. The staff was busy at work keeping them in good condition.
Shoe Sizes: 32 to 50
Prices: 18rmb to 40rmb per set, daily. They're open 24 hours.
F&B: 10rmb to 25rmb for drinks; Chinese snacks at around 25rmb. You're not allow to bring your own food but they'll order in for you and charge you a 15% service fee.
The Vibe: This one's the well-known one to expats who roll. It's that one that's been there forever on Hengshan Lu. You've seen it. Inside, expect a hodge-podge of the foreigns, the families, and the lone local bowlers, depending on when you go. They never ever close. In addition to the bowling they've got the claw machines, eight pool tables, and a few arcade games. Good location. Does the job.
Huangpu Workers Stadium Bowling Center
Year Opened: 2013
Stats: Six lanes; it's small but everything is well organized and in good condition.
Shoe Sizes: 33 to 47
Prices: 12rmb to 20rmb per set, daily. Runs 10am-10pm.
F&B: No rules to the F&B. You can bring food and drinks to stay alive, stay lit, and bowl.
The Vibe: It's a government-owned blowing center located inside of Huangpu Worker's stadium by the Cool Docks. Apart from the BYOB bonus, it's good for people in the area really. They've also got ping pong and billiards, like everyone else. Not many expats know about this tiny bowling room inside the stadium -- secret bowling anyone?
This one's more for companies renting it out for team building or dedicated parties. It costs 1,500rmb/hour to do that. They don't do the neon lights, but it's clean and neat.
Year Opened: June 2016
The Deal:: Six lanes, brand spanking new.
Shoe Sizes: 10 to 47
Prices: 30rmb per set during their soft opening til July 31. 60rmb per set after that, daily. Runs 9am to 12am.
F&B: Soft drinks are 10rmb to 35rmb; Qingdao draft beer is 30rmb; cocktails are 50rmb to 65rmb. Burgers and pasta dishes are between 30rmb and 65rmb. You are definitely not allowed to bring your own food and beverages.
The Vibe: It's the pimping-est bowling alley in the city, and the prices reflect that. They've got cocktails. They're the only ones with cocktails. Japanese-style cocktails, no less.
Located under the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel and right next to the Indigo Hotel, here's Bund Bowl, putting a Bund-ish spin on the sport (and art) of bowling. It serves American-style food, has a fully stocked bar, and employs a chef that used to work at Shangri-la and Three on the Bund. It looks like a club too. Didn't check, but the Tindr game here is probably pretty solid.
Never change, Shanghai. Bowl HARD.