Best Indoor Activities in NYC: Bowling, Ping Pong, Pool & More!

Inside the NYC's new Royal Palms Courts and a look at the shuffle boards available for players

January was brutal and, if those groundhogs are right, we still have many more weeks of wintery unpleasantness to come. Fortunately, the city has really upped its indoor fun game in the past five years or so, with a host of new, hip, clean-and-comfortable spots to indulge in all of your old-school rec-hall favorites. Here's a non-exhaustive list of some of the more high-profile spots…

A man throwing a ball at Lucky Strike's bowling lanes lit up in red and blue.

Where To Go Bowling in NYC

For bowling, you can't go wrong with Bowlmor, either at Chelsea Piers, the classic near Union Square, or the sprawling, newer, goofily NYC-themed lanes in Times Square. About a month ago I made the trek west to the massive (and, on this night, nicely underpopulated) Lucky Strike (above) on 42nd by the river, which was fun, friendly, and appropriately high-tech. None of these, however, beat out my personal favorite lanes, Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg, which has both good music and great food, via Blue Ribbon (get the fried chicken).      

Two guys playing table tennis at King Pong in NYC

Pool Halls and Table Tennis

Ping pong–otherwise known as table tennis–has also seen a surge of new hip/respectable spots. The most famous (and, thus, always crowded… thanks to celebrities like Susan Sarandon), is SPiN New York, near Madison Square Park, which has 17 courts, a full restaurant and bar, and seems like the de rigueur after-work-party choice for area twenty-somethings. More low-key but also excellently equipped is King Pong in far-western Soho (above). Pool halls have a little rougher go of it (RIP Soho Billiards), but Eastside Billiards on 86th Street and Amsterdam Billiards just south of Union Square remain solid options for all level of play. Of course, you can also break a rack or three at any one of dozens of local bars.  

Royal Palms NYC's white and black striped cabana seating

The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club

Finally, one of the most exciting/intriguing openings this winter has to be the delightfully lavish (and likely painfully cool) Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club in Gowanus. I haven't yet been (I missed it in soft opening mode, and the "grand opening" is still a few days away) but from what I hear this place is a blast, with 10 courts, fun cocktails, and a rotating collection of food trucks providing the eats. And just look at this place, with all of that Floridian-chic decor, including cute cabana-like booths! All photos of Royal Palms (top and above) by the excellent Sai Mokhtari via Gothamist.   

How are you spending these wintery cold days in NYC? Share with us in the comments!

Posted in NYC Events | Tagged