Pittsburgh's duckpin bowling bars offer bite-sized fun | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh's duckpin bowling bars offer bite-sized fun

click to enlarge Stubby pins sit at the end of bowling lanes in a spacious, industrial-style bar.
CP Photo: Amanda Waltz
Duckpin bowing at Shorty’s Pins x Pints

So, your family's in town again. They've ridden the inclines, visited Phipps and the museums, aren't interested in the terrible Steelers. Suddenly, our big city full of fun and wonder feels small and tired. It seems you've visited every restaurant of note. Your wallet has already been stretched to the breaking point, and the kids are running out of annoying YouTube to watch.

Enter duckpin bowling.

This miniature version of the game is fun, approachable, and doesn't require gross rented shoes. Since the demise of the venerable Games N'at, duckpin bowling has grown in popularity, with three new spots joining one established haunt to create a microverse of tiny bowling right here in the Steel City. The best part? All of these places serve drinks, most of them serve food, and duckpin bowling isn't the only diversion you'll find there.

Coop De Ville

Right in the heart of the Strip District, which is bustling with more holiday happenings than ever these days, Coop De Ville is a one-stop shop for coffee, cocktails, fried chicken, and fun. Their retro-style duckpin bowling lanes are first come, first served, and at $7 per person per game, are reasonably priced. Plus, Coop De Ville is open seven days per week, with the lanes opening daily, so you can bowl after a cappuccino and then do your shopping or stuff your face with half a chicken and enjoy a game of bowling for dessert. Be advised that the restaurant can get crowded, and they limit you to an hour of bowling during busier times of day — but you can always turn your attention to billiards, pinball, or more drinks if time runs out.

Pins Mechanical

With the Southside Works revival well underway, Pins Mechanical is a fun addition for shoppers and diners exploring what used to be a massive J&L steel plant. The roomy bar and event space has a host of games perfect for people tying one on after a delirious day of shopping, including 16 duckpin bowling lanes patrons can rent for $6 per game per person, plus bocce, foosball, and other mainstays. If you have younger folks with you, they can even bowl free on Sundays (and drink free pop while they do so)! A visit to Pins is a great way to cap off a day of spending too much at REI and sampling the myriad delights of the recently opened Kura Sushi spot next door.

Riggs Lounge

Riggs is perhaps the North Side's most venerable establishment, though it's more a leave-the-kids-at-home type of place given their status as a smoking bar. Full of North Sider regulars — and a digital jukebox — Riggs hearkens back to a simpler time, when drinks were cheap and duckpin bowling was a more regular feature of area pubs. There's just one battle-tested lane in the back of the bar, which lends itself perfectly to an unhurried night out with a few pals. Riggs is also a stone's throw from other local amenities, including Commonplace Coffee and Monterey Pub.

Shorty's Pins x Pints

Shorty's on the North Shore added eight lanes of duckpin bowling to the neighborhood's nightlife when they opened early in 2022. (Note: the other Shorty's on the Waterfront in Homestead has a rentable karaoke room and other fun, but no duckpin bowling.) The bar operates bowling, pinball, and other "retro-tainment" for visitors to this hotspot of sports and tourism activity, and, in addition to a well-rounded tap list, Shorty's also serves Tex Mex classics like tacos and nachos. Patrons can rent out lanes on a first come, first served basis or play shuffleboard and more than a dozen arcade games while they wait for staff to let them know a lane has opened up.

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