Equal parts sports playground, restaurant and bar, The Alley is lined up to be one of Charleston’s most diverse and delicious destinations for casual, sophisticated dining and a good, old-fashioned bowling time.
Open since November, and housed in a former wine distribution warehouse directly across from The Post and Courier on Columbus Street, The Alley is strides ahead of the dingy, hot dog-serving, bowling halls of yore, sparkling with clean floors, eight vintage style bowling lanes, video arcades, pinball machines, gigantic projections screens, a full bar and some seriously good eats.
Home Team Kitchen whips up the latter from a kitchen behind the bar under the leadership of Executive Chef Courtney Tomer. The reasonably priced ($5.95 – $18.95) menu includes stick-to-your ribs staples like nachos, burgers and pizza, but strikes a perfect “10″ in the flavor and presentation department.
For example, the Green Chili Nachos ($9.95) are loaded with slow braised, fork-tender pork butt and resonate with the heat of a roasted green chili sauce, the creaminess of a luxurious house made crema, sweet, acidic notes of roasted tomatoes and it all gets tamed with oodles of melted cheese and a generous dollop of sour cream. The nachos (a house best-seller) alone, are a reason to make a visit, pronto. But add to that tender, juicy meatballs ($7.95) made of ground chuck and pork butt, laced with Parmesan, fresh herbs and topped with a tangy, slightly spicy tomato sauce and more of that melting cheese, and a spanking fresh spring salad with house-pickled red onions, bites of fresh mint, English peas, perfectly dressed with a sherry vinaigrette are two more of many compelling treats coming from the kitchen. The salad (along with the Garden Salad) can be embellished with pork belly or roasted chicken for meat-lovers for an additional $3.
Mustard yellow walls, bright lighting and polished, clean surfaces play happily with the lilting sounds of arcade game music and the background sound of bowling balls, falling pins and raised spirits in the bowling area towards the rear of the huge space.
If you can’t have a good time here, you can’t have it anywhere. The Alley elevates bowling and bowling alley food and fun to a whole new level that’s perfect for kids of all ages.
131 Columbus Street
Charleston, SC 29401