presents your guide to the best alleys and lanes to go bowling in Shanghai
This popular hangout from the High Point chain is part of a pool, KTV and card den complex beside Hongkou Stadium. It’s a cheap and basic set up with an average range of balls and fairly standard lanes, but the atmosphere is relaxed and fun. While the nearby student population keeps it busy, the large number of lanes means waiting times, if any, are usually short.
Cost Weekday daytime games (before 1pm) are just 12RMB for non-members, with prices rising to 29RMB/game on Friday and Saturday evenings (7-11pm). Membership costs 50RMB and gets you a 2RMB discount on the non-member prices. Shoe rental is included (sizes go up to 48).
Refreshments Dry tofu (5RMB/packet) and dumplings (12RMB/serving) feature on the snack menu while soft drinks start from 6RMB and beers are 8-15RMB.
Other activities The first floor has an expansive pool hall, and the second a KTV.
Tip High Point also have a branch in Jinqiao at 3611 Zhangyang Lu, our preferred Pudong alley with a superior atmosphere to Yuanshen Stadium’s X Club.
Score Six pins
High Point Third Floor, 456 Dongjiangwan Lu, near Sichuan Bei Lu, Hongkou district. See full address details
Located within the Minhang Gymnasium complex beside Dino Beach, Longmarch is the most professionally set-up bowling alley in the city. That’s because the company which operates it (also called Longmarch), are a bowling equipment manufacturer who sell everything from shoes and balls to lanes and pinsetters. Unsurprisingly, it’s a slick and comfortable set up, but what really makes it worth the trip from downtown is that Longmarch is the only place in the city where you can find specialist balls for hooking. Hooks are weighted off-centre enabling you to bowl the ball out to the edge of the lane before it makes a last minute swing inward towards the pins.
Cost Prices per game for non-members range from 12RMB (6-9am) to 24RMB (7-11pm) depending on when you go. Membership cards cost 50RMB and entitle holders to 2RMB off each game. Shoe rental is 3RMB (sizes go up to 47).
Refreshments The drinks list features cans of Tsingtao for 8RMB, while snacks include 12RMB hamburgers.
Other activities Table football. That’s it.
Tip Longmarch is the only place in Puxi where you can buy a ball (from 350RMB) and get it drilled (150-260RMB), a process that takes around 45 minutes and requires intricate measurements of your fingers.
Longmarch First Floor, Minhang Gymnasium, 288 Xinzhen Lu, near Baoming Lu, Minhang district. See full address details
This is the default downtown bowling option for most people and it’s easy to see why: it’s open 24 hours, has a fun atmosphere, and a good location (provided you can make it through the crowds of scantily-clad youth outside Phebe). Friday and Saturday nights have a relaxed, party-like feel to them bolstered by blaring pop and cheap drinks. The staff are generally friendly and attentive, though the quality of the lanes is fairly average and the alley’s popularity can often mean a wait at peak hours.
Cost Games range between 16RMB (1am-midday, Monday-Friday) and 35RMB (6pm-2am, Friday-Sunday). Members enjoy 1-5RMB discounts (cards cost 200RMB). Shoe rental is 5RMB (sizes go up to 49).
Refreshments In addition to snacks such as popcorn (15RMB/bucket) and Haagen-Dazs ice cream (45RMB), Orden’s refreshment menu features a page of ‘inebriates’ including 15RMB cans of Tsingtao, 158RMB bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon, bottles of spirits from 380RMB and a small range of shochus from 238RMB/bottle.
Other activities Orden has one of the biggest ranges of alternative activities beside the lanes, with pool tables, driving games and even a massage chair.
Tip If you plan on being a regular visitor to Orden, you can buy a card with 1,200RMB credit for 880RMB or one worth 2,500RMB for 1,780RMB.
Score Eight pins
Orden Third Floor, 10 Hengshan Lu, near Gaoan Lu, Xuhui district. See full address details
The ten lanes of the Pine City Hotel’s bowling alley make for a good value downtown bowling option, even if the atmosphere is a little stilted and the ball selection could be better. It’s a small, quiet space that is largely the domain of retired Party cadres and lanes 1-8 are reserved for their use during the daytime (the record scores of the ‘veterans’ are posted above each lane). The composition of the clientele means that the alley is generally clear in the evenings and walking in late at the weekends, when the nearby Orden is at its busiest, can lead to looks of shock from the staff. Lanes
Cost Games are priced at 8RMB (before 11am), 12RMB (11am-7pm) or 15RMB (after 7pm), though prices are slightly higher at weekends and holidays (10-20RMB). Shoe rental is 3RMB (sizes go up to 47).
Refreshments Drinks are limited to cans of Tsingtao (15RMB) and Coke (5RMB) or bottles of water (5RMB).
Other activities The hotel has a large number of mahjong tables, a ping pong room and billiard tables on the same floor.
Tip If you visit on a weekend, be sure to stop by the packed ballroom next door, where old couples glide gracefully across the floor and, later, younger dancers move to cheesy Eurobop, giving the place a school disco feel.
Score Seven pins
Pine City Hotel Second Floor, 8 Dongan Lu, near Zhaojiabang Lu, Xuhui district (6443 3888). Open 8am-1am daily. Zhaojiabang Lu. 徐汇区东安路8号2楼, 近肇嘉浜路
Another hotel basement alley, the East Asia’s hidden lanes are a world away from the nearby Orden (see above) with a much more restrained atmosphere. The flat rate for non-members makes it one of the more expensive downtown spots, but if you’re after a low key alley where you’ll rarely have to wait for a lane, this is a good option.
Cost If you’re a non-member, bowling here will set you back 40RMB/game, unless you go on Wednesdays (see Tip, below). Annual memberships for the Shanghai International Tennis Centre, which includes the bowling alley, cost 32,000RMB for individuals. Shoe rental is included (sizes go up to 48).
Refreshments A minimal drinks list features 38RMB soft drinks and 40RMB Tsingtaos though food and other drinks are available from the hotel bar on request.
Other activities Inside the bowling room itself, there is little else, though the hotel has other games rooms.
Tip Wednesday nights are better value for non-members with two-hour games available for 200RMB net (for up to four people) from 5-11pm.
Score Five pins
Regal East Hotel 516 Hengshan Lu, near Wuxing Lu, Xuhui district (6415 5588; www.regalhotel.com). Open 10am-11.30pm daily. 徐汇区衡山路516号, 近吴兴路