Winter in Chicago-land can feel never-ending. Especially with toddlers who have lots and lots of energy. I am always on the lookout for ways to entertain and blow off some energy that will not break the bank. The Kids Club at Pinstripes: Bowling, Bocce and Bistro offers an affordable option to strike out cabin fever and burn off some energy.
Pinstripes is not your typical bowling alley. I grew up in bowling alleys. Both my grandparents bowled in leagues. My Grandpa semi-professionally. As much as I enjoyed it growing up, it’s something I haven’t done with my children. I haven’t done it because, quite frankly, bowling alleys tend to be dark, smokey, and dirty. If you have young children who like to explore and who have been known to crawl around on the ground, it can be gross. As much fun as bowling was growing up, the germaphobe in me kept us away. When I got the invite to Pinstripes, though, it looked different, there was the new no-smoking in public places law, and it came with fruit and yogurt. How bad could it be?
It was not bad at all. In fact, it is the best time and best value in all of Chicagoland for entertaining your children (and I was in no way paid to say that!). Seriously! The Pinstripes Kids Club runs every morning Monday – Friday from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (effective June 4, 2018) – you will need to sign up on your first visit, and you will get a card for future visits. With that Kids Club card, kids bowl for $3 per hour with a $3 shoe rental, and parents bowl free! Adults can bring up to 4 kids (12 and younger) for the kids club rate. Additional perks for the kids club include food discounts and free events.
The bowling alley itself is clean and bright. There are huge windows, WINDOWS, along one side of the lanes. There are big comfy leather couches for the kids to hang out on and wood floors (no gross carpets!). The staff is generally attentive but not in your way. The lanes are totally computerized. You choose who gets bumpers and who doesn’t, and it does all the scoring for you. They also have ramps that the kids can use if they aren’t strong enough to throw a ball. This makes the bowling suitable not just for moms and tots, but big brothers and dad’s too! One morning I went, we had children age 18mo to 10yrs bowling and having fun. There are not many places that can do that!
Have you been to Pinstripes?
1150 Willow Road, Northbrook, IL 60062
Pinstripes South Barrington
100 W. Higgins Road, South Barrington, IL 60010
Disclosure. This review was written after visiting the Northbrook location; I have not been to South Barrington but assume it’s just as fabulous. Pinstripes did not compensate me in any way; we paid for our own food and bowling. All opinions expressed are my own.
Editors note: Originally published in 2011, updated in February 2018 to note changes to the Kids Club.