Candlepin bowling, the great American pastime where you gather a bunch of friends, strap on some funky shoes and make a fool of yourself on the alley.
Timber Lanes in Abington has been around for years, I remember bowling strings there when I was a kid. It’s more than just bowling though; there’s also an arcade and the “Squire’s Loft” which serves food and alcohol and has a bunch of games.
Good Ole Bowling on the Cheap
Recently, Groupon featured a deal for 6 people (shoe rentals and 2 hours of bowling). I snagged it for $19 which is a great deal for a night out with friends. If you don’t want to wait for a Groupon deal, there are coupons on the website (see the bottom of the page for links) and they offer discounts if you reserve a lane online.
We showed up around 6:30 on a Saturday night and it was dead. As we approached the counter to get a lane, the cashier asked us if we wanted to wait until 7:30 when they were doing “Moonlight Oldies”. We agreed that that would be more fun and headed to the Squire’s Loft to kill some time.
The Squire’s Loft
The Squire’s Loft is a bar, restaurant and lounge area decorated in a rustic, medieval theme. We grabbed a booth in the back and started flipping through the menu. Knowing we were planning on getting dinner later, we settled on some appetizers and beer. You have to place your order with the bartender.
The drinks and food were moderately priced, the appetizer plate was around $11 with a 20 oz beer coming in $5. Not a bad add-on to a night out. They also have some touch screen computers with games and a ton of board games as well to keep you entertained.
At 7:30 we took to the lanes. The lights were turned down, the lasers were turned on and 60’s music was pumped through the speakers. By this point, people had started to come in and snatch up lanes (which was great, I hate seeing good establishments dead).
The one drawback to Timber Lanes is its age. The lane needs to be reset manually after every 3 balls, the video screens are straight out of 1995 and their website reminds me of the “Geocities” era of web design. If you can get past this, you’ll have a good time.
When the two hours were up, we brought back our shoes and headed outside.
Across the street there’s a great Asian-fusion restaurant called Great Chow. This restaurant is a pretty popular place, on the weekend you can expect a wait. The interior decor is clean, minimal but has an upscale Japanese feel.
On Saturday nights they have live music; in theory this sounds like it would be fun but the music is loud. So loud, in fact, that it’s almost impossible to hear what anyone is saying.
For my birthday a few years ago, a couple of us went here on a Saturday to celebrate. When they ID’ed us, the manager must have realized it was my birthday. Without any of my friends even asking, he told the band to wish me a happy birthday (and they did, over the loud-speaker, very embarrassing) and sung “Happy Birthday” as they brought me out some cake. It was one of the few instances where I’ve felt that the staff at a restaurant went above and beyond the call of duty. So there’s both the positive and negative to the live music.
How’s the Food?
I would call Great Chow moderately expensive; they’re a little more expensive than the traditional Chinese take-out but the quality is higher. The restaurant was dead the night I went (it was the Saturday of Labor Day weekend), and even though we were one of only two groups in the dining area, the service was really slow. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt in this instance, I’ve been here before and haven’t had any problems with the service. Hopefully this was a fluke and not the shape of things to come.
For such a small, mostly residential town, Abington has a lot of great eateries and classic pastimes. Bowling at Timber Lanes is an inexpensive, fun group activity and finishing off the night with a few drinks or some dinner at Great Chow across the street will create a night you’ll be talking about for years to come.