Bowling alley scores with fun food, great drinks

We seem to be entering a new era in entertainment-center fare. Dine-in movie theaters led the charge, improving food options in recent years. And now some metro Atlanta bowling alleys are upping their game.

The Painted Pin, the swanky new lounge-cum-bowling alley in Buckhead, aims to provide restaurant-quality food and beverages for bowlers.

Start with classic and signature cocktail creations from mixologist Trip Sandifer, formerly of Restaurant Eugene and the Spence. It’s hard to resist his Moscow Mule slushie with vodka, lime and ginger beer. Nor can you go wrong with the cleverly named Pin’s Cup, a mixture of Pimm’s, lemon and grilled pineapple soda.

You’ll find it easiest to order a slew of small plates for quick nibbles between turns launching the ball.

The potent ranch-and-cheddar pork rinds make for a nice nosh, even if they necessitate a swipe down the water glass for a pre-turn cleansing of the hand. The waffle dogs, another fun bite-and-bowl snack, come corn dog-style on a stick with a sweet-scented malted batter.