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Alley at Southshore

Categories: Bowling alley, Indoor play zone

Features: Big-screen TVs, Catering, Classes offered, Darts, Date night, Equipment rentals, Gaming stations/trivia, Indoor play zone, Kid-friendly, Outdoor seating, Party room, Pool tables, VIP area

Payment options: Credit cards accepted

Alcohol: Full bar

Parking: Lot

Big but not overwhelming, sleek but not snooty, this facility brought some excitement to East Hillsborough nightlife when it opened in March 2009. The 45,000-square-foot building at the southwest corner of Big Bend Road and U.S. 301. houses not only bowling but also a restaurant, ice cream parlor, 5,000-square-foot arcade and billards tables.

Fridays and Saturdays from midnight to 2:30 a.m. there is cosmic bowling, where white wooden lanes and flashing lights manage to look chic. Hanging next to every scoring screen is a flat-screen TV showing music videos. For $3 more, upgrade to the VIP room, which features couches, larger video screens and closer access to the bar. It has only eight lanes, so if you eat first, give your waiter the $15 to reserve one for you.

Alley Kat's Pub and Grill is cheap, with most of the sandwiches, salads and chicken wings under $7. There's also a breakfast menu. There's a decent selection of extra-cold beer, plus a handful of wines and a few odd-balls thrown in for variety; we liked the Wild Blue blueberry lager. The Creamery features frozen custard and Blue Bell ice cream.

Prices: Regular bowling is $2.50-$3.95 per game or $12-$16 per hour for up to six bowlers. VIP lounge is $2.50-$4.95 per game, or $12-$29 per hour for up to six bowlers. Shoes $3. You can book over the phone for $60 per lane ($75 for VIP)

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