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 quiet 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) with them for the kids club rate. Additional perks for the kids club include food discount 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 hangout 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 Mom’s 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!
Disclosure. This review was written after visiting the Northbrook location, I have not been to South Barrington but assume it’s just as fabulous. I was not compensated by Pinstripes in anyway, 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.
Melissa is mom to 4. She used to dream of traveling the world, now she dreams of a clean kitchen. She can be found on most social media sites as @PBinmyHair because with this much hair and four kids, you're bound to find something in it.
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Sounds like a great place to go…once Natalie starts walking. I wish it was just a tad bit earlier in the day though to avoid rush hour. Did you run into a ton a traffic on the way home at 5pm?
The South Barrington location has morning hours- 10am until noon for mom and tot bowling. When I’ve been there, they do charge for the fruit bowsl- but it’s a big bowl of fresh fruit for $2. That’s pretty cheap. Tuesdays are their $2 burger days too,