• Jason

ARCADE REPORT: North Bowl - Philadelphia, PA (August 2021)

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

My family, brother and nephew spent Sunday morning in Philadelphia sightseeing. After a nice lunch at a historic firehouse my brother suggested that we finish the afternoon off by going bowling. So I asked him, “Where do you have in mind?” His response: North Bowl. DING 🛎. Instantly a bell went off in my head that North Bowl has pinball (I shouldn’t know that about a place that I’ve never been to before, but I do 😂). Let’s Go!


North Bowl is a little more stylish than a normal old school bowling alley. I equate it to the new, redone Lucky Strike Lanes locations. It serves alcohol and food. The lanes are modern and the decor is trendy.


The first thing that I saw right when I walked in the front door was two Stern pinball machines, one common one, Star Wars Pro, and one surprising one WhizBang & Stern’s The Pabst Can Crusher, a re-themed retro pin that shares a layout with Whoa Nelly and Primus. I’ve only seen Can Crusher one other time on location, so that was cool.


Beyond the two pins, the downstairs also had several classic arcade machines, including Rampage, a Multi-Williams and two 4-player classics The Simpsons and NBA Jam.


Beyond having an amazing view of the lanes, the upstairs of North Bowl has three more Stern pinball machines, KISS Pro, Ghostbusters Pro and Star Trek Pro. That’s a sold collection of pins for a random bowling alley. I only had time to play Pabst, but it played well. There was no obvious issues with the other games that I saw. In addition to the pins, the upstairs has air hockey, an always fun Terminator Salvation shooter, a Super Chexx and a Big Buck Hunter that was turned off when I was there.


The bowling was fun, though our lane did experience technical difficulties during our game where it wasn’t picking up all of the pins between balls 🎳 creating havoc with our game. We switched to an adjacent lane that worked better. If someone asked me what I was going to bowl before we started I would have guessed 120. Sure enough, I bowled a 125. Good enough to not be embarrassing 🙂. Since this was an unexpected trip, I was wearing flip flops. I had to buy a pair of socks to play so I picked up the snazzy ones in the picture.


The location did not require masks to be worn inside, but I wore one anyhow. Proof of vaccination was required to enter the building. If you’re in the mood for some bowling and find yourself in the Philly area North Bowl’s pinball offerings make it an excellent choice for a visit.


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